Aspirants in the August polls have been urged to prioritise boda boda safety in their agenda to help reduce fatalities from motorcycle accidents.
The Kenyan National Helmet Wearing Coalition particularly wants focus placed on the wearing of helmets saying riders and pillion passengers are at a greater risk than other road users during road accidents.
“Head injuries cause 80 per cent of motorcycle related deaths but only 30 per cent of riders and 3 per cent of passengers state that they always wear a helmet,” the body said in a open letter to aspirants and political parties.
The calls came hot on the heels of latest statistics from the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) which indicated a sharp rise in the number of road fatalities in the country.
The data showed that some 2,211 people have died on Kenyan roads since January this year, compared to 1,988 who died around the same time in 2021.
Of this number, 788 are pedestrians – a 21 per cent increase – compared to 651 pedestrians who died over the same period last year.
NTSA said 608 motorcyclists have perished since January on the roads compared to 569 who died in 2021.
The helmet wearing coalition called on politicians to use their legislative powers once in office and enact laws that enhance motorcycle safety.
The group whose 19 members include state agencies, ministries, the police, driving schools, youth groups and taxi hailing companies said the safety of over 1.4 million boda boda riders relies on their support.
“Hospitals are often forced to create dedicated boda boda wards to deal with the overload related to severe injuries which creates a catastrophic financial burden for families and the health system.”
The group pointed out that the safety of boda boda riders is particularly at risk during the campaign period, a critical phase politicians should also use to support ongoing efforts to protect their lives.
“The boda boda registration process is currently underway and can be used to positively impact safety through appropriate investment. Every rider should have access to affordable quality protective helmets, and comprehensive training,” the group said.