BY AMBROSE KWERONDA
Statistics reveal a concerning trend in Rukungiri, where a staggering 95% of boda boda riders operate without a license. CPL Oketayol Michael, the Traffic Officer in Rukungiri, highlighted this alarming fact along with other troubling statistics.
He reported that 90% of boda boda riders lack third-party or motor insurance, and approximately 50% of them ride without helmets. Moreover, most of these riders are unfamiliar with road signs and markings, putting themselves and others at risk.
Addressing the issue of accidents in the district, CPL Michael emphasized that many are a result of hit and run incidents. To curb this dangerous behavior, he urged all boda boda riders to obtain proper driving licenses by following the due process
Additionally, CPL Michael issued a stern warning to boda boda riders who carry more than two passengers, emphasizing the danger it poses to everyone involved. He announced that the police would conduct operations targeting riders without reflective jackets, helmets, licenses, and those carrying more than one passenger, and they would be held accountable for their actions.
According to Michael Kananura, the traffic police spokesperson, there have been 457 accidents across the country within a week, resulting in 79 fatalities and 338 injuries. This highlights the seriousness of the road safety issue, and it demands immediate attention from all stakeholders.
Minister of State for Transport, Fred Byabakama, expressed concern that 95% of boda-boda riders in Kampala are taking unnecessary risks, leading to the high number of fatalities and injuries. He urged the need for measures to address this issue promptly.
In Kigezi Region, some boda boda riders attributed the problem to alcoholism, drug addiction, and the high cost of driving permits. They called on the government to reduce the license fees to make it more accessible to riders, which could potentially lead to more responsible behavior on the roads.