Liberian officials have banned motorcycle taxis from the main roads of the capital city, Monrovia, sparking outcry from drivers and frustrated commuters who were forced to walk for hours to reach their offices.

Police spokesman Sam Collins said Wednesday that the measure came in response to a wave of fatal accidents involving motorcycle taxis, known locally as "pehn-pehns."

The bikes are the most common form of public transportation in Monrovia besides share-taxis. Many of their drivers are ex-combatants who fought in the country's brutal 14-year civil war that ended in 2003.

Daniel Howard, spokesman for a group of motorcycle drivers, said the restrictions left them with no way of supporting themselves.

A police statement said any drivers caught on main roads would have their bikes confiscated and be fined $200.