Traffic police records from January to September this year have shown 1,422 people have been killed in Boda boda crashes. Of these, 1021 were Boda boda riders while 401 were passengers.
The toll translated to 16 people being killed every three days, or statistically, 5.3 people per day.
Farida Nampiima, the traffic police spokesperson, said most of the victims did not have crash helmets and would hit their heads on the tarmac. She added that the deceased riders were majorly reckless on the roads, especially when crossing junctions.
The statistics mean that 158 Boda boda riders and passengers died every month translating to five riders dying daily. These figures are so far equl to last year’s entire boda boda death toll over twelve months.
Last year, 1,390 Bodaboda riders and 512 passengers died in road crashes totaling 1902. This number divided by the twelve months of a year meant 158 deaths every month and five daily demises.
Although the big number of Boda boda deaths for last year was loosely attributed to the lockdown and restricted movement meaning that riders were speeding because roads had fewer vehicles, traffic police is yet to find the befitting explanation for this year’s fatalities so far recorded.
A report released by Safe Way Right Way (SRWR) on behalf of Road Safety Coalition Uganda (ROSACU) last month showed lack of crash helmets was a major contributor to road crash deaths involving motorcycles. The study explained that over 69 percent of riders who owned helmets; bought them along the motorcycles.
In order to protect motorcycle passengers, ROSACU members recommended that the ministry of transport draft a policy that would compel motorcycle dealers to sell them with two crash helmets. ROSACU’s recommendation on selling motorcycles with at least two crash helmets was based on the findings that only 5 percent of passengers on motorcycles have crash helmets and that gap can be minimized by having such a policy.
But Nampiima explains that they have intensified operations on Boda boda riders without crash helmets for themselves and their passengers. She said riders and their passengers must at all times wear crash helmets.
Traffic police operations on Boda boda riders not wearing crash helmets and reflector jackets have led to the impounding of 12,217 motorcycles, though 10,167 have already been handed back to owners after paying the Express penalty tickets.
Rogers Nsereko Kauma, the Kampala metropolitan traffic police commander and Nampiima based on the video often captured by Closed Circuit Television -CCTV cameras to say many of these crashes could have been avoided if riders just make it a routine to reduce speed when crossing junctions and avoid riding on the wrong sides of the roads.
Pedestrians have been urged to always cross at designated cross points and walk on sides where they face oncoming traffic.
Kauma and Nampiima say many pedestrians are fond of crossing roads while on phones and with earphones or headphones on their ears.