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NOT A CONVENIENCE BUT A NUISANCE

Disruptive, noisy boda bodas anger Nyeri residents

Operators Instal noisy exhaust systems to 'attract customers'

In Summary

• Residents say the bikes cause noise pollution, disrupt businesses and are a health risk.

• Residents want action taken against operators who have tampered with their motorbike exhaust systems.

A rider uses a boda boda to transport and distribute assorted items to retail shops along the Nyeri-Karatina highway
A rider uses a boda boda to transport and distribute assorted items to retail shops along the Nyeri-Karatina highway
Image: /EUTYCAS MUCHIRI

Though boda bodas have become a favourite means of transport, there are concerns that they have become a source of noise pollution and a nuisance.  

As a result, some Nyeri residents now want action taken against boda boda operators who have tampered with their motorbikes' exhaust systems.

Residents say the noise from the boda bodas, disrupt businesses and is a health risk.

 

Traders said they are often forced to stop attending to customers to let noisy motorbikes pass because they make communication impossible.

Eric Wanjohi, a trader in Nyeri town, said the action by the boda boda riders is not only insensitive but also portrays a bad image among riders.

Eunice Wacheke said many people have medical issues and the noise may aggravate their conditions.

“Some motorbikes also keep backfiring which is not only annoying but can also damage one's ears or cause panic which can be disastrous to some people especially those suffering from conditions such as hypertension,” she said.

Elijah Murage, a boda boda operator, told the Star that riders change the roar of their bikes by simply altering or modifying the exhaust system or changing the exhaust installing one with the sound of their choice.

He said loud sounds make some of them feel great and their rides satisfying.

 

The motorcycle is also easily noticed as the noise helps to attract customers from a distance away.

But despite claims by riders that the modification is meant to attract customers, many said they cannot board such noisy boda bodas.

“For me I cannot stop such a loud bike because I do not like noise,” Patrick Njau said.

Nyeri County Boda Bodas chairman Charles Ndegwa said most of those who have altered their bikes are young people in their 20s.

He said he has been in discussions with other leaders in the industry to look for a lasting solution to the nuisance.

Ndegwa said they used boda boda shed chairmen to identify those behind the acts, note their names and the registration numbers of their bikes and hand them over to the police for action.

"We have even reported them to the police, furnished them with the registration numbers of the noisy bikes, but they are yet to take action. So we also decided to sit back and watch,” he said.

Nyeri Central deputy county commissioner Joseph Mwangi said there have been complaints over the conduct of the riders.

He said they are organising a meeting with environment officials from Nyeri county, the National Environment Management Authority (Nema) and leaders in the sub-sector to look for a solution to the problem.

Mwangi said it would be good to engage riders and sensitise them first before arresting them and impounding their bikes.

He said if they do not fix mufflers on their bikes to minimise noise pollution, then they can be arrested and arraigned.

Edited by A.N

A boda boda rider transports assorted items to retail shops along the Nyeri-Karatina highway
A boda boda rider transports assorted items to retail shops along the Nyeri-Karatina highway
Image: /EUTYCAS MUCHIRI