State in effort to reduce rising boda boda accidents

Fred Ndunga

Meru County Commissioner Fred Ndunga presents safety gear to a rider during a boda boda riders sensitisation forum by Kenya Roads Board in Meru town on February 23, 2023.

Photo credit: David Muchui I Nation Media Group

Boda boda riders continue to contribute to the high number of road accidents in the country due to carelessness and disregard of traffic laws.

Speaking during a road safety sensitization in Meru, Kenya Roads Board (KRB) director of policy and planning Tom Omai said the forum was advised by a high number of riders being hospitalized due to accidents.

According to data from the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA), there were more than 4,600 deaths caused by accidents in 2022.

Out of these, more than 400 people who died were either riders or pillion passengers. Another more than 370 people have died in road accidents in January 2023.

“We are alarmed by the high number of young people admitted at the Kenyatta National Hospital Orthopedic ward with spinal and brain injuries. The boda boda sector contributes a huge chunk of the fuel levy hence we have a responsibility to reduce road carnage,” Mr Omai said.

Mr Omai said the road safety clinics have so far reached 16 counties and supported about 5000 riders with reflector jackets and helmets.

In Meru, more than 300 riders underwent training in traffic rules, first aid besides getting screening for non-communicable diseases and HIV/Aids.

“NTSA reports indicate that 80 percent of accidents are caused by human behavior such as speeding, drunk driving, recklessness and distraction by phones. This means if we amend our behavior, we can bring down the deaths on the roads,” he said.

Meru Teaching and Referral Hospital A​cting CEO Gacheri Kathiiri also recently expressed concern over the high number of boda boda riders being brought to the hospital with accident injuries.

“We get a lot of patients from boda boda related accidents in our surgical ward and unfortunately, most of the riders do not have NHIF cover. Riders should prioritise their safety and have health insurance,” Dr Gacheri said.

Meru deputy base commander Safia Ibrahim noted that the majority of riders were breaking traffic laws due to lack of requisite documents.

“Majority of riders do not have two helmets and two reflector jackets as required. The law requires a rider to have PSV and third party insurance. A rider should not use a driver’s license. If we adhere to the law, we can reduce accidents,” Ms Ibrahim said.

She cited careless overtaking as one of the major causes of accidents in the region.

Ms Ibrahim warned boda boda riders against ferrying school children under the age of 12 without the company of an adult.