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Bodabodas,the newest menace in town

For a long time, we thought matatus were the menace on our roads but now there are motorbike taxis popularly known as bodabodas.

Their riders as known by the same name. This industry has probably created the greatest number of jobs in recent times, as youths enthusiastically took up the bikes. But they have now become the greatest cause of accidents in the city and Kenya as a whole.

Poor riding habits

On many occasions, bodabodas are arrested for violating traffic rules. The riders often do not have a driver’s licence or safety gear such as helmets and reflectors.

When they are stopped by police, they take off leaving their passengers stranded. In some situations, they ride off at breakneck speeds, exposing their clients to more danger.

In Nairobi, for instance, they weave  their way between cars, change lanes at will, jump traffic lights or ride at high speed on pedestrian lanes. There is no law that allows bodabodas to use roads carelessly. They are also bound by traffic rules like other road users.

 Special wards

It should come to the attention of our readers that law enforcement agencies have been very lenient with bodabodas —and casual about their injured passengers — when accidents occur.

Traffic rules decree that no person, including the passenger(s) should ride on a motorcycle without a helmet and a reflector jacket.

If you go against this regulation, you will be slapped with a Sh10,000 fine. If you are a passenger and think that the rider is speeding or breaking traffic rules, you have the right to tell him or her to stop the bike.

Research  has shown that most bodabodas wear helmets to protect themselves from rain and wind and to protect their eyes from flying insects.

Using helmets for safety is not a key factor for them, which is why very few of them have helmets for their passengers. It is no wonder therefore that in some counties such as Kilifi, hospitals have special wards for motorbike accident victims!

Other motorists have expressed growing resentment for bodabodas with many calling on authorities to ban them from particular roads altogether.

They attribute many accidents to riders, claiming that bodaboda operators are unapologetic whenever accidents arise.

This can be changed by sensitising the riders on the need to respect the rule of law,  safety and respecting other road users.

To many Nairobians, bodabodas provide a cost effective and flexible means of transport.  After all, you don’t want to be stuck for hours in a jam if you can take a motorbike.

I would have expected many driving schools to spring up to instruct the thousands of riders getting into the bodaboda business every week, but that has not been the case.

As a passenger therefore, take safety measures to ensure that you live to see another day.