By Stephen Macharia
According to a new report, Africa has approximately 27 million motorcycles, up from five million in 2010, indicating an increase in the use of boda boda transport.
The Wheels of Change: Safe and Sustainable Motorcycles in Sub-Saharan Africa report, supported by the FIA Foundation, was released in Nairobi in November.
According to the report’s findings, there were about 25 motorcycles per 1000 people in Kenya by 2020. In the last two years, the figure has risen dramatically.
The distribution of motorcycles in Africa varies by region. “Motorcycles are most popular in West and East African countries,” the document indicates.
According to the report, the number of motorcycles in the aforementioned regions will increase. Population growth, rapid urbanization, poor roads, a lack of cycling and walking infrastructure, and limited employment opportunities for the youth are all contributing factors to this growth.
“Growth is likely to continue in the coming years – or even accelerate- possibly rapidly,” according to the report.
Despite the fact that motorcycles create jobs across the continent, particularly for young men who are unable to find other forms of employment, they continue to pose a significant challenge in terms of road safety.
According to government data, over 900 motorcyclists died on the road in Kenya between January and October of this year, a 4.2% increase over the same period last year.
However, the situation in some countries is dire. Motorcycle riders account for more than 70% of all road deaths in Togo. Motorcycles are responsible for more than half of all child pedestrian injuries on Tanzanian roads.”
However, the report identifies improved regulation, rider training, law enforcement, and the use of quality protective equipment as opportunities for countries to capitalize on in order to improve boda boda transportation.
It includes a number of recommendations for governments and other stakeholders in order to save lives and improve livelihoods. Among the suggestions are:
- Increased use of standard, high-quality helmets
- Prioritizing training, testing, and certification
- Motorcycle roadworthiness assurance
- Considering motorcycles in transportation system planning, design, and maintenance
- Governing the commercial motorcycle industry
- Commercial boda boda associations should be formalized and supported.
- Increasing law enforcement
- Regulating the Ride-Hailing and Delivery App Sector
- Educating other road users, such as truck drivers, public minibus drivers, and members of the general public, on how to share the road with boda boda riders.
- Making the transition to electric motorcycles safe