, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 22 – A visitor to Kenya is never short of superlatives when describing his trip. An elephant matriarch, a majestic lion, and a crimson sunset are vivid images that remain with the traveler.
Here, the beauty is vast and varied. However, on the many roads in the area, there is an attraction of another kind; the versatile Motorcycle boda boda mode of transportation.
The versatility of the cycles is unique in that they are not tied to one particular route. To beat a self-imposed deadline, a rider will use any available space including pavements meant for pedestrians, at times missing some by inches.
While this mode of transportation is quite convenient for many, there are many rules and regulations which are broken and could eventually lead to serious if not fatal accidents.
We recently spoke to the Motorcycle Association of Kenya chairman Benson Gachoka and he shed light on the recently registered body and the rules and regulations governing motorcycle road users in Kenya.
Q: When was the association registered?
A: It was registered in October last year and its main aim is to educate both road users and motor cyclists on the importance of adhering to laid down traffic regulations.
Q: How would you classify the Boda Boda motorcycle business that takes place in many towns in the country?
A: It is illegal to transport anybody on a motorcycle and we as an association are dissuading our members about that. This is because insurance companies have not accepted to insure passengers on a motorcycle. What is covered is the third party and the motorcycle itself.
Q: What is your advice to Motorcyclists with regard to adhering to laid down traffic regulations in a bid to reduce accidents on Kenyan roads?
A: I would like to advice the riders to treat a motorcycle like a vehicle following another vehicle in front of it and only pass the vehicle in front when you are overtaking and then go back on to the road.
At the moment you can always see motorcyclists riding parallel to a vehicle and that is very dangerous since you could be at a blind corner.
Q: What are some of the safety requirements that motorcycle users need to take into consideration during their operations.
A: It is very important that motorcyclists put on their headlights at all times when riding. It does not matter whether it is during the day or night and the headlights system is designed in such a way that it can be sustained for 24 hours.
Q: Why is this important?
A: This will ensure that other motorists see you when driving or when you want to overtake them. Other than this, you have to hoot while overtaking to alert the other road users of your presence.
Q: How serious are accidents that involve motorcycles?
A: They are usually very serious since during a collision, it is normally the cyclist’s body which absorbs most of the impact as opposed to other vehicles.
Q: Where does the Motorcycle Association of Kenya feature in the motorcycle industry?
A: The first thing that we do is to train riders up till they get their licenses. It was with this concept in mind that we came up with the idea of safety for cyclists and as a result of that, the association was formed.
Q: When was the Association formed?
A: It was formed in October last year. We are yet to launch it but its main aim is to give a platform to motorcyclists. It is an area which we feel has been neglected so much and is kind of chaotic.
We thought that if we give riders this platform, where they can be talking about these problems together, it would give them a better standing with the public.
Q: What is the correct attire to wear when riding a motor cycle?
A: It is mandatory to have the helmet, gloves since one uses the hands for breaking etc.
Other safety measures involve the wearing of a riding suit and boots to protect the rider from the elements of weather during the process of travel.
Sellers should insist that motor cyclists have got their licenses before buying a machine. This will ensure that qualified people are the only ones who gain access to the machine.