The Police have impounded 2,354 motorcycles and 523 vehicles in the last seven days in operations intended to ensure road safety during the festive season. The bodabodas and vehicles were impounded after the riders as well as drivers were found lacking driving licenses.
Micheal Kananura, the Traffic Police Spokesperson, said many drivers and riders do not have the basic skills of safe driving because they have never been in a driving school while others last visited a driving school decades ago.
Kananura explained that out of the 523 impounded vehicles, 121 drivers did not have driving licenses commonly known as permits, 181 had expired driving permits and 290 had licenses not meant for the vehicles they were driving.
“Out of 2,354 motorcycles, 1247 did not have driving permits, 726 did not have crash helmets, 177 did not have reflector jackets and 82 were carrying more than one passenger on their motorcycles,” Kananura said.
Godfrey Ojiambo, one of the bodaboda leaders, and Susan Tumuhairwe, a road safety expert at Safe Way Right Way say many riders haven’t realized the importance of wearing crash helmets a reason they are reluctant to wear them.
“If all these riders knew that a helmet saves life, they would not be reluctant about wearing them. Many lives have been lost in bodaboda crashes and in most cases, the victims who are the riders and their passengers are not wearing crash helmets,” Tumuhairwe said.
She said they have gone to all the five divisions of Kampala sensitizing riders to wear crash helmets and they found them giving minor reasons. Some riders said the helmets cause them a lot of heat yet that is not comparable to hitting the head on the tarmac.
Ojiambo explains that many riders would have survived if they were wearing a crash helmet but the unfortunate time came when they were unprepared and they hit their heads on the tarmac. “We don’t say that a rider wearing a crash helmet doesn’t die. But we say that a helmet saves the crucial and delicate part of the body which is the head. We have worked with road safety experts to sensitize riders but many haven’t accepted our message,” Ojiambo said.
Kananura said out of the 64 people who died in road crashes last week, 31 were bodaboda riders and their passengers. In total, 379 people were victims of road crashes last week of which 64 died, 315 sustained injuries. Among the dead were also 21 pedestrians.