KAMPALA – After the successful phase one of the Safe Steps road safety campaign, Prudential Uganda and Uganda Red Cross Society on Tuesday unveiled the second phase to train thousands of boda boda riders in both road safety and first aid.
Safe Steps campaign which started on 1st September 2022 is primarily aimed at promoting road safety, first aid, behavioural change and awareness among boda boda riders.
The second phase is aimed to reach 8,000 Boda boda cyclists in the districts of Kampala, Mbarara, Mbale, Masaka, Mityana, and Wakiso.
Recent data indicates that 1.35 million people are killed globally on the roads every year, including 500 children every day. Africa has the highest road fatality rate in the world and 44 percent of road traffic deaths are pedestrians and cyclists. Although Africa has only 2 percent of the world’s cars, the continent accounts for 20 percent of road deaths worldwide.
Uganda Red Cross Society Secretary General – Kwesiga Robert noted that they seek to avoid people going to hospital wards unnecessarily. He says that the project is about ensuring that the boda boda riders observe the traffic requirements and regulations bearing in mind that they need to understand road safety.
“The very moment these boda boda riders observe traffic regulations, and practice first aid whenever an accident happens, we are going to minimize death and trauma.”
He urged them to obey the requirement of having a helmet “because it protects you in case of an accident” but also the reflector jacket to be seen at a distance especially when the visibility is not as clear.
In this project, Mr. Kwesiga said they are going to provide some of them with helmets and refractor jackets.
In the first phase, he underscored the positive results, noting that “we have information whereby an accident happens and the people who give first aid are the boda boda riders who were trained.”
“We have gotten reports from police that those who were trained are far better at observing the road traffic rules compared to those who were not.”
Prudential Uganda boss Tetteh Ayitevie noted that mucha as boda bodas are a fundamental mode of transport for many Ugandans, especially in urban areas, the country sees a significant number of road accidents every year, with a substantial portion of these accidents involving boda boda riders.
“Sadly, we’ve observed that a significant number of road accidents involve boda boda riders. These accidents not only impact the riders themselves but also have far-reaching consequences for their passengers, families, and the broader community.”
“We are renewing our commitment to the safety of all road users in Uganda, with a particular focus on boda boda riders. Our aim is to empower them with the essential safety knowledge and skills necessary to make their journeys safer,” he added.
Through this campaign, Tetteh said they are determined to make roads safer one step at a time.
He challenged all the riders to ride very responsibly, especially as we approach the end of the year and the festive season, which tends to be a time when road accidents are rampant due to increased travel and sometimes.
“Together with our partners, we’re determined to create a safer road environment, especially during this festive season. Thank you for your unwavering support and dedication to making our roads safer for everyone. Let us take the next steps on this important journey to a safer Uganda.”
Minister of Works and Transport, Gen. Katumba Wamala shared that out of the 4534 people killed in 2022, 1404 were motorcyclists, forming the second highest number of road user groups killed after pedestrians.
He attributed this risk to the behavior of the boda boda riders on the road.
Katumba, represented by Mr. Benon Kajuna, Director Transport commended Prudential and Red Cross for investing in the boda sector – noting that it will improve boda boda safety in Uganda.
According to him, Uganda is implementing a second UN Decade of Action for Road Safety, which set a target of reducing road crash deaths and injuries by 50% By 2030.
“It is, therefore, encouraging to know that this Save Steps campaign is continuing to reach even more boda boda riders across the country and I encourage you to continue this good work and even reach more and more riders to improve road safety.”
“My ministry has reviewed and amended the regulations under the Traffic and Road Safety Act including motorcycle and tricycle regulations. I request that you get these regulations and refer to them during this campaign,” he called.
SP Opus Justine, Deputy Command, Traffic and Road Safety, Kampala Metropolitan “The Red Cross, you’re effective. If I were in a position of apportioning budget, I would give all the money to you because what you do is great. We thank you for working closely with us. You have trained us, you have given us skills and for the ambulance services, you’re far so better than anybody in this country.”
Mr. Mawejje Frank – boda-boda chairman in Kampala said “As boda-boda cyclists in Kampala, we have formed a team to support the Traffic Police to guide our fellow cyclists especially at traffic lights. Observing traffic rules is a big challenge to us. But with these efforts, we are getting there.”