Road Safety

With The Looming El Nino rains, here is My Clarion Call for Motorcycle Safety Due To Related Dangers

In 2014, road acci­dents occurred every two min­utes in Dubai due to the rare heavy rain across the coun­try. My friend, a Dubai-based auto­mo­tive expert, recent­ly con­firmed that this sce­nario replays itself in Dubai almost every year when­ev­er it rains, albeit with vary­ing degrees of inten­si­ty. That’s because heavy rain leads to poor dri­ver vis­i­bil­i­ty, slip­pery roads, the risk of debris and fly­ing objects, and there­fore an increased risk of acci­dents. Not even Dubai’s excel­lent roads are immune from rain-induced dangers.

El Nino is around the cor­ner, which means that we will soon expe­ri­ence heavy rains and all that comes with them. We must, there­fore, pre­pare to ensure road safe­ty, espe­cial­ly for motor­cy­cles. Fail­ure to do so might result in increased road casualties.

Ear­li­er this year, the Nation­al Trans­port and Safe­ty Author­i­ty (NTSA) ranked motor­cy­cles as the most dan­ger­ous mode of trans­port in 2022. By the end of that year, bod­abo­das had account­ed for 1,209 fatal­i­ties, an increase from the 1,154 fatal­i­ties record­ed in 2021. This is akin to wip­ing out the entire stu­dent body of a large sec­ondary school, a heart-wrench­ing real­i­ty that demands our imme­di­ate atten­tion and a nation­wide com­mit­ment to safer roads before, dur­ing, and after the El Nino rains. Can you imag­ine the count­less indi­vid­u­als suf­fer­ing in hos­pi­tals or left inca­pac­i­tat­ed from such accidents?

These num­bers rep­re­sent peo­ple: fathers, moth­ers, daugh­ters, sons, col­leagues, and friends. Thus, I com­mend the leg­isla­tive efforts under­way to bol­ster motor­cy­cle safety.

Kakamega Sen­a­tor Boni Khal­wale intro­duced the Pub­lic Trans­port (Motor­cy­cle Reg­u­la­tion) Bill, 2023. This bill man­dates that all bod­abo­das have two hel­mets that meet the stan­dards set by the Kenya Bureau of Stan­dards. Both rid­ers and pas­sen­gers must wear hel­mets and reflec­tive jack­ets. Non-com­pli­ance will result in puni­tive mea­sures. Impor­tant­ly, the bill dic­tates that a child under nine years must ride with an adult, seat­ed between the rid­er and the adult, and must wear a child-appro­pri­ate hel­met. Giv­en that bod­abo­das trans­port hun­dreds of thou­sands of chil­dren to school dai­ly, ensur­ing their safe­ty is paramount.

I urgent­ly appeal to the par­lia­ment to fast-track this bil­l’s pas­sage so the Pres­i­dent can sign it into law. Once enact­ed, our esteemed Police Ser­vice must enforce it impar­tial­ly, for it con­cerns our very lives.

Kenyans also bear the respon­si­bil­i­ty of pro­mot­ing road safe­ty, par­tic­u­lar­ly motor­cy­cle safe­ty. Specif­i­cal­ly, the mil­lions who ride bod­abo­das dai­ly should insist on qual­i­ty hel­mets before begin­ning their jour­ney. It’s a mat­ter of life and death.

As the Chair­man of the Motor­cy­cle Assem­blers Asso­ci­a­tion of Kenya, in col­lab­o­ra­tion with parts and acces­sories man­u­fac­tur­ers, I pledge to sig­nif­i­cant­ly enhance the num­ber and qual­i­ty of hel­mets used on our roads.

Accord­ing to the UN Road Safe­ty Fund, when used cor­rect­ly, cer­ti­fied motor­cy­cle hel­mets can decrease the chance of a severe head injury by 69% and the risk of death by 42%.

Rwan­da, one of the few African coun­tries to wide­ly accept hel­met usage both leg­isla­tive­ly and social­ly, has fal­tered regard­ing qual­i­ty cer­ti­fi­ca­tion. As a result, the UN Road Safe­ty Fund notes that hel­mets from Kigali failed inde­pen­dent lab impact tests, prov­ing inad­e­quate against seri­ous head injuries. To a large some extent, this has been Kenya’s nar­ra­tive as well.

A sig­nif­i­cant por­tion of import­ed hel­mets pose severe health risks as they shat­ter upon min­i­mal impact. For­tu­nate­ly, local­ly pro­duced hel­mets like BodaPlus now meet high inter­na­tion­al safe­ty stan­dards. Besides safe­ty and since they are local­ly man­u­fac­tured, these hel­mets also pro­vide jobs and boost our economy.

I warm­ly urge every read­er of this arti­cle to bear a pro­found respon­si­bil­i­ty to become an ambas­sador of motor­cy­cle safe­ty, espe­cial­ly with the loom­ing El Nino rains threat­en­ing unpar­al­leled road haz­ards. Once we fore­arm our 2.5 mil­lion Bod­abo­da rid­ers and road users, with knowl­edge and aware­ness, they stand armed against dan­ger. Your voice can safe­guard lives. Choose to be the change. Think green, act green

About Dr. Kalua Green

He is the Chief Stew­ard of Green Africa Group, a con­glom­er­ate that was envi­sioned in 1991 to con­nect, pro­duce and impact var­i­ous aspi­ra­tions of human­i­ty through Sus­tain­able Mobil­i­ty & Safe­ty Solu­tions, Eco­pre­neur­ship & Agribusi­ness, Ship­ping & Logis­tics, Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Ini­tia­tives, as well as Hos­pi­tal­i­ty & fur­nish­ings sectors

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