A lot of road accidents can be avoided and fatalities reduced, if only traffic rules were observed. However, after motorists and motorcyclists are issued with driving licences, they don’t attend road safety campaigns sessions, even if they are offered free of charge.
Kiambu county Nyumba Kumi initiative chairman Peter Kiugu has urged all road users to go for the training. He says a lot of accidents are caused by ignorance, careless driving and lack of respecting the traffic rules, saying drivers and riders must make it a habit to know what is needed from them on the roads.
“All road users, whether you are motorists, motorcycle riders, bicycle riders or pedestrians, must know the road signs and what is needed from them at any given time,” Kiugu said. He urged riders to be vigilant while riding along the Nairobi-Nakuru highway and other major roads.
The traffic department has listed boda boda riders as the leading traffic offenders in the country. According to the National Transport and Safety Authority, a lot of school leavers are joining the business, placing most riders between 19 and 39 years old, most of whom are not professionally trained.
NTSA says before May 31, 1,348 people had lost their lives since the year began in motor vehicle and motorcycle-related accidents. To curb the fatalities, the government has been urged to reach out to road users to enlighten them on the need to learn the Traffic Act.
Addressing a road safety campaign at Tigoni police station, traffic police said they are reaching out to riders in rural areas to ensure they are enlightened on the law.
Officers in charge of traffic Johnbosco Mulei (Tigoni) and Charles Galgitele (Lari) said many riders break nearly all traffic rules. Violations include carrying two pillion passengers and a load, riding without helmets or reflective jackets, and lacking valid driving licences and insurance covers for their motorcycles.
Other offences include hiding number plates and carrying passengers while seated across instead of astride. The act, which was drafted by the NTSA on February 5, 2015, says that any rider who offers taxi services with a motorcycle must be a member of a sacco.
The act directs courts to penalise anyone who breaks traffic laws with a fine not exceeding Sh20,000 or with imprisonment for a term nor exceeding six months or both.
Mulei said many riders speed and use curved number plates while carrying more than two passengers, assuming police won’t arrest them. “We shall come for you. You cannot run away. We shall ensure you follow the Traffic Act to the letter,” he said.
Galgitele said most women sit across the passenger seat and do not want their smart hair to be touched by a helmet. “No rider should accept riding a customer who refuses to wear helmets and sits across. You will both be arrested,” he said.
Kiugu also urged the society to participate in the training once announced, since they are boda boda’s main customers. “Our society, too, can make riders fall into the trap. It is important they come and learn,” he said.
The Nyumba Kumi boss appealed to riders to help the police with information regarding security, since some work until late at night, crisscrossing village and estates.