The Observer (Kampala)

23 February 2014

Uganda: Bodaboda Deaths On Increase - Police

The police commissioner for traffic, Dr Steven Kasiima, is worried that despite a general decline in traffic-related deaths, the number of dying bodaboda cyclists continues to rise.

Speaking at his Kampala office recently, Kasiima said out of 2,900 people who died in road accidents last year, 641 were bodaboda cyclists. This represents a 12 per cent rise on 2012, when 571 perished. Kasiima attributes this trend to cyclists' disobedience of traffic regulations by riding without helmets or reflector-jackets.

"The riders' death toll is expected to increase unless they register for traffic trainings and comply with the traffic laws," he said.

Kasiima was, however, happy that the Traffic police had generally done well in trying to curb road accidents. He said the 2013 annual police report indicated a six per cent general fall in road fatalities.

The pedestrian deaths, for instance, dropped from 1,243 in 2012 to 1,181 in 2013.

"The reduction was due to enforcement by police officers, who ensured a 24-hour presence on the roads, to arrest drivers over drink-driving, speeding and increased sensitisation of people about road regulations," he said.

Kasiima was speaking after receiving four digital video-recording speed guns (worth Shs 140m) donated to the police by the non-governmental organisation Safe Way Right Way. The guns are to be used to detect speeding vehicles. The police now has 12 speed guns.

No corruption

According to Barbara Mwanje, the programmes manager at Safe Way Right Way, the speed gun uses a laser beam to target and detect speeding vehicles. Once detected, the vechile's data is sent to the police traffic department through an internet connection, where a penalty ticket is prepared.

She adds that the machines were uniquely designed to fight corruption in traffic police, because no one can change its data once it is captured.

"Its data is stored on the memory card and it can't be lost because even if it is deleted, the moment you restart the machine, the data returns," she said.

Additional reporting by Pius Opae Papa.

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