Four people die in boda boda accidents every day – police

An accident scene involving a boda boda and taxi in Namugongo, Wakiso District in 2017. PHOTO | FILE

Four people die in boda boda accidents everyday, data from the police has revealed.

According to the 2021 Annual Crime and Traffic/Road Safety report 4,159 road accident fatalities countrywide were recorded. Of these 1,390 involved motorcycle riders while 528 were passengers on motorcycles. This translates to about four people dying from boda boda accidents every day and about 116 every month.

 “Motorcycles have become a menace on the road. When you register five accidents a day, four involve motorcycles,”  Ms Faridah Nampiima, the spokesperson of the Directorate of Traffic and Road Safety, told this publication in a telephone interview yesterday.

Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Nampiima said in October, 257 people died from in accidents and these were mostly due to boda boda.

“From October 1 to 29, 1,378 accidents were registered on different roads across the country and of these, 227 accidents were fatal, 705 were serious, and 446 were minor. In these accidents, 1,232 victims were involved and of these, 257 people died and 975 sustained injuries,” ASP Nampiima said.

 The rampant boda boda accidents have prompted the Speaker of Parliament, Ms Anita Among, to issue a directive to the deputy Inspector General of Police, Maj Gen Geoffrey Tumusiime Katsigazi, to find a solution to curb the accidents.   

“We face a crisis, especially on Kampala roads as a result of reckless boda boda riders. We must address it forthwith. You need to take critical steps to reverse this devastating trend and save lives on our roads,” Ms Among said during a meeting with the Maj Gen Katsigazi yesterday. 

She added that police should tighten enforcement and traffic guidelines to rein in errant road users. 

Maj Gen Kasigazi said police will come up with measures to address the matter.

Mr Umar Isabirye Babalanda, the head of the Boda boda Industry of Uganda, an association that unites boda boda riders in the country, blamed the issue on the government, saying they have not done enough to sensitise boda boda riders. 

“Our association had collaborated with the Ministry of Works and the Office of the Prime Minister to train boda boda riders on how to use the road, how to read road signages but this didn’t happen. They started politicising the training and that is how it failed,” Mr Isabirye said. 

He added that the government should first train the leaders of boda boda riders so that they can go back and train the riders or else these accidents will continue.

 “What causes road accidents is someone coming from upcountry to Kampala, they get a motorcycle and just start riding without going through any special training. Remember this person may have never seen traffic lights, doesn’t know how to use them, is not used to congestion on the roads in the city, so they will definitely cause accidents,” he said. 

Mr Isabirye added: “So government should establish schools to train boda boda riders to reduce all these accidents, just like journalists, and teachers have where they are trained from, so should boda boda riders. There are these organisations like Safe Way that train boda bodas on how to use a helmet, how to read traffic lights, which speed they can ride when in the city, and which shoes they should wear, among other things so, the government can give them money so that they train the riders.” 

Ms Susan Kataike, the public relations officer of the Ministry of Works And Transport, said road safety is a continuous campaign and the ministry never stops telling people about it. 

 “The ministry works with KCCA, NGOs, boda boda associations to sensitise the public on road safety,” Ms Kataike said 

She added: “The government is doing its part but the people on the road don’t want to put on seat belts, boda boda riders and passengers don’t wear helmets and yet this is your life. So people should be responsible.”