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UGANDA: Boda bodas killed 7,000 in 3 years

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KAMPALA (JOSEPH KATO, DAILY MONITOR) – Records at traffic police data centre show at least 7,000 people lost their lives in boda boda accidents in three years. 

Road accident statistics, which Daily Monitor has seen, show that in 2014, boda boda accidents claimed 2,057 lives, 2,386 in 2015 and 2,554 in 2016.
In the 2014 death toll, 621 boda-boda riders, 274 passengers and 1,162 pedestrians died in road accidents.
The casualty toll went up in 2015 where 731 riders, 344 passengers and 1,311 pedestrians were killed in the carnage.

The fatalities worsened in 2016 with boda boda carnage claiming lives of 791 riders, 379 passengers and 1,384 pedestrians.
Speaking in an interview recently, the traffic police spokesperson, Mr Charles Ssebambulidde, attributed the high accident toll to several causes which include untrained riders, impatient motorcyclists, reckless driving/riding and shortage of traffic police officers to enforce traffic regulations.

“The biggest cause of boda boda accidents is their impatience. They have failed to accept that there are other road users. They beat all odds to gain access even where they see danger. Most boda boda riders are often knocked dead as they make turns at wrong places or riding from opposite sides on one way routes,” Mr Ssebambulidde, who is also head of operations in the Directorate of Traffic Police, said.

He said passengers have also contributed to the soaring numbers of boda boda accidents because in many cases, they ask motorcyclists to ride fast because they want to reach their destinations quickly.
Traffic records further indicate that 24,352 motorcyclists, passengers and pedestrians were seriously injured in boda boda accidents while 2,010 people suffered minor injuries.

The breakdown of figures shows the number of riders who suffered serious injuries dropped from 3,426 in 2014 to 3358 in 2015 and further declined to 2,717 in 2016.
Boda boda passengers, who sustained seriously injuries rose from 2,043 in 2014 to 2,185 in 2015 but declined to 1,681 in 2016.

Cases of injured pedestrians decreased from 3,209 in 2014 to 3,160 in 2015 and declined further to 2,573 in 2016.
In all, 8678, 8,703 and 6971 serious injuries were registered in 2014, 2015 and 2016 respectively.
Mr Ssebambulidde said Kampala Metropolitan area that comprises Kampala, Wakiso and Mukono Districts registered the highest number of boda boda accidents followed by Kibaale, Kakumiro and Kagadi districts.

Police said the hotspots for Kampala boda boda carnage include Jinja Road junction, Clock Tower, Shoprite and Entebbe Road traffic lights.
The Force added that two to five boda boda accidents are recorded at each of the four hotspots daily.
“In some parts of the country there are very many motorcycles and insufficient personnel to enforce traffic laws. In Greater Kibaale we usually have like two to four traffic officers manning all the roads,” Mr Ssebambulidde said.

Police action
Prosecution: Mr Charles Ssebambulidde reiterated his boss, the director for traffic police, Mr Steven Kasiima’s position last week that errant motorcyclists would be prosecuted in court. He said having realised the growing fatality rates caused by the carnage, police have intensified operations on misbehaving motorcyclists in Kampala and greater Kibaale area.

Mr Kasiima on Wednesday said in 2017 police gave out more 50,000 express penalty tickets to errant boda boda riders. He said given that the population of bodabodas in Kampala are estimated at 50,000, it means nearly all the riders have been fined for a traffic offences.

Costs: In 2015, Mulago hospital revealed that it had spent Shs1.2m on each boda boda victim in the year.
The hospital added that it received 25 to 50 casualties daily of which majority were boda boda victims.

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