Uganda should halt importation of motorcycles – KCCA

Boda boda's impounded by Uganda Traffic Police 2
Impounded motorcycles

Kampala, Uganda | URN | The Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) has asked the Ministry of Works and Transport to halt the importation of motorcycles because ‘the city is choking.’

KCCA Roads Supervisor Eng. Andrew Serunjogi says that the unregulated importation of motorcycles is a disaster for the country because they are already too many on the roads. It is estimated that there are one million motorcycles on the roads in Uganda, a majority of them, about 750,000 operating in the districts of Kampala, Mukono and Wakiso.

Eng. Serunjogi said that in their attempts to streamline operations of commercial motorcycles, locally known as Boda boda, they were shocked that more than 500 motorcycles are cleared every day to be on the roads.

“Every day there is a company being licensed to produce them… I am told the rate is 500 per day. That is why we are concerned. Much as we need the money, we need to regulate. They are quite a number and the Ministry of Works doesn’t seem to be doing much,” Eng. Serunjogi said.

Eng. Serunjogi observed a need to control or, if possible, first halt the importation of motorcycles in order to bring sanity to the city adding that the country cannot only focus on making money without regulating the industry. He was speaking at the National Road Safety and Mobility Symposium held at Hotel Africana in Kampala on Friday 5, August 2022.

Dr Olive Kobusingye, a renowned injury epidemiologist and researcher at Makerere School of Public Health, said phasing out the two-wheeler modes of transport is long overdue. She wishes that the country never had the two-wheeler mode of transport that is leading to so many deaths, permanent injuries and leaving families destitute.

“One would wish that we do not have a mode of transportation that is indeed that high risk. Because clearly if you have a mode of transportation that leads to so many deaths, we have to question whether it should be allowed to continue.

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We are not just losing lives; we are talking about the families of the deceased. The cost of using a mode of transport that is dangerous is clearly not sustainable. We have those that are permanently disabled,” Dr Kobusingye said.

The 2021 traffic police report shows that Boda-boda crashes contributed to nearly 50 per cent of deaths resulting from accidents. The deaths included 1,390 motorcyclists, and 512 passengers totaling 1,902 out of the 4,159 total deaths. This excludes the 1,384 pedestrians who were killed in hit-and-run accidents by both motorcycles and vehicles.

Dr Kobusingye added that Ugandans should stop being overly concerned about where the motorcyclists will go if Boda bodas are removed. “What of those that are being killed going for work? We need to move away from the high-risk mode of transport to the mass carrier, especially in corridors where people move to work, move to school.”