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‘Boda bodas’ in Kisumu break laws, bones, lives with impunity

Baraka Karama @PeopleDailyKe

They are referred to as boda boda, peng, or apiko in the lakeside city of Kisumu. The preferred motorised mode of transport for those in a hurry or in areas inaccessible by matatus, the two wheelers have, however, become a source of misery to many.

But breaking traffic laws at will, they don’t seem perturbed by the numerous deaths and injuries they are causing through avoidable accidents.

At the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga teaching and referral hospital, victims who are nursing wounds occasioned by their carelessness are numerous.

Homesteads around the county are dotted with graves of victims who lost their lives through boda boda accidents.

Despite tough traffic rules meant to control the boda boda menace, they break the laws with impunity, many in full glare of seemingly helpless traffic police officers.

They drive without safety helmets and carry at least three passengers at a time.

The majority of their passengers are school-going children, with the minimum number ferried at once being four pupils.

And as if that is not enough, they use the wrong side of the road just to reach their destination quickly.

Their counterparts, the tuk tuk drivers, have also joined the league of notorious law breakers.The tricycles which are registered to carry three passengers, squeeze in seven and beyond.

Kisumu boda boda chairman Elly Oketch says the number of motorcyclists stands at slightly 3,000, spread across different bases in the expansive county.

“The number is high but we are trying to have them trained to minimise avoidable accidents involving them,” he said. At the same time, Kisumu Central Police Base Commander Jane Mbevi acknowledged the menace the boda boda and tuk tuks have become in the city.

Mbevi says: “We are trying hard to control them and will continue doing so but they are a very difficult lot to handle,” she said.

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