THE motorcycle squad of the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipal Traffic Department, which has been standing idle since 2010, is finally fully operational. The revival of the motorcycle squad came after the purchase of 10 motorcycles for the 2010 Fifa Soccer World Cup and was never optimally utilised to enforce traffic laws or to perform other duties. The department is in the process to bolster the squad even further, with locally recruited traffic officers, by the end of 2020, in an effort to ensure swift responses to accidents in the metro.Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Member of the Mayoral Committee for Safety and Security, Noluthando Pink, gave the new unit the thumbs up.“This initiative is long overdue since these bikes were unnecessarily gathering dust since 2010, essentially making the money used to buy them, wasteful expenditure. Now that we have launched it, the motorcycles will make a big difference. In peak hours, the bikes can manoeuvre more easily than cars to respond to emergencies. This will go a long way towards servicing our communities better,” Pink said.The PE Express reported in April that the squad should have been fully operational in June this year. According to the director for traffic and licensing, Warren Prins, the department experienced issues with the squad’s protective gear.Prins said, “The gear could be bought over the counter and would have been risky for the department if others purchased the gear. The department therefore had to go out on a mini tender to have it custom made for its uniqueness.” Nine motorcycles will be operational this week as the 10th is currently in for repairs. The motorcycles will be operational in specific areas. However, their operations will be limited. “The idea is to reintroduce the use of motorcycles in our metro, as we have a vast area to cover including a long stretch of the N2 Freeway,” Prins said.All the members of the unit volunteered to be part of the motorcycle team, following the distribution of a departmental memorandum. Officer Vuyelwa Manana is making history as the first female traffic officer to be part of a motorcycle squad in Nelson Mandela Bay. It is a step up for the traffic fraternity since it is a male-dominated environment. Manana added, “I’m just paving the way for more women to do things that are predominantly seen by society as for males only. This was my dream – although it was not easy, it was worth it.”Plans are afoot to expand the motorcycle squad from the corps of 90 new traffic recruits residing in the Nelson Mandela Bay. This group will finish their training at the Port Elizabeth Traffic College by the end of next year.