A FARE PRICE: An Investigation into the health costs of motorcycle taxi crashes in Kenya

AA Kenya, alongside Transaid, NTSA, and the FIA Foundation, unveiled a groundbreaking report titled “A Fare Price: An Investigation into the Health Costs of Motorcycle Taxi Crashes in Kenya.”

The report digs deep into the issue of helmet usage, the alarming rate of motorcycle-related deaths and injuries, and the health costs as a result of the injuries, pressing need for robust enforcement of safety standards in Kenya’s motorcycle taxi industry.

With over 2.2 million registered motorcycle taxis, commonly known as bodabodas, traversing Kenyan roads daily, this mode of transport has become indispensable, providing employment particularly to men under 35 years old.

While  bodabodas offer affordable mobility solutions, they also pose significant risks to both riders and passengers, evident in the increasing number of accidents and fatalities.

The study, conducted against the backdrop of the United Nations’ Decade of Action for Road Safety, revealed stark statistics. In 2023, motorcycle-related incidents accounted for 35% of all road deaths in Kenya. Despite existing legislation mandating helmet use, compliance remains low, with only 63% of operators observed wearing helmets and a mere 15% of passengers doing the same.

The reluctance to wear helmets among passengers often stems from concerns about hygiene and appearance. Shockingly, head injuries constitute the leading cause of hospital admissions, representing over a third of all injuries sustained in motorcycle accidents. The economic burden resulting from these accidents is substantial, with victims often resorting to loans to cover medical expenses.

The economic burden resulting from these accidents is equally devastating. Treatment costs often passed on to patients and their families, can plunge them into financial turmoil, particularly for those without access to healthcare insurance. Personal stories shared in the report highlight the immense financial strain faced by bodaboda operators, with healthcare costs sometimes equaling several years’ worth of salary.

The report also sheds light on the inadequate understanding of helmet safety standards among bodaboda riders. Many purchase cheaper, substandard helmets solely to evade police enforcement, unaware of the potentially life-saving role that quality helmets play.

The findings of the report demand urgent action. Recommendations put forward include strengthening data collection methods, raising awareness about helmet safety, and investing in initiatives to ensure compliance with safety standards. The establishment of a helmet testing laboratory, the first of its kind in East Africa, aims to address the issue of substandard helmets and improve rider safety.

Report link: https://www.fiafoundation.org/resources/a-fare-price

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