The Kenya Roads Board has partnered with the North Eastern Province Technical College to train boda boda operators in a move aimed to reduce boda boda accidents, improve road safety and influence behaviour change on road usage.
The road safety awareness training in Garissa was one of many road safety initiatives that KRB has conducted in Kisumu, Kisii, Migori, Kilifi, Busia, Nyeri, Malindi, Machakos, Nakuru, Narok, Nyamira, Kakamega, Elgeyo, Marakwet and Kajiado counties.
In the programme, a total of 100 riders will benefit from the first phase which intends to reduce the number of accidents occurring on the roads within the town.
Accidents involving boda boda and motor vehicles or pedestrians being knocked down have been on the increase in the last three months.
The last accident occurred two weeks ago where three people atop a boda boda died on the spot after they were knocked down by a bus as the rider tried to overtake another vehicle.
Speaking on the sidelines of the one day training in Garissa, NEP Deputy Principal Margaret Wanjiru said the main thing that they were looking for right now is the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) because they already know how to ride.
“Most of them can manage motorbikes and so we are encouraging them to join us so that we can identify, assess and certify their knowledge, skills and competencies,” Wanjiru said.
Wanjiru further urged more youths to enroll for technical courses saying that there is a readily available job market for people with such skills.
“I would encourage the youth to join technical programmes which will open more opportunities for them. The government is also giving scholarships for these programmes in national polytechnics and all TVETs,” she said.
On his part, Eng. Nelson Nyamao from the Kenya Roads Board said that they were aware of the fact many lives were being lost through accidents related to boda boda hence the need for more engagements and training.
“We are working together with other partners including National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) to make sure that we organize sensitization, seminars and workshops to sensitize the boda boda operators in addition to taking them for training so that they familiarize traffic rules, acts and regulations,” Nyamao said.
He said in the 15 counties visited, KRB has trained close to 5,000 riders, provided 3,000 helmets, 10,000 reflective jackets and first aid kits among others.
Further, the Board has trained 150 riders who sat licensing examinations by NTSA and passed.
“KRB’s support to the Boda boda industry to improve road safety is aligned to the nation’s broader development agenda namely, The Third Medium Term Plan of Kenya’s Vision 2030 and the Big Four Agenda. KRB will continue to focus on promoting road safety initiatives and conducting road safety audits,” he said
Maxwell Otieno, the Garissa Boda boda chairman, welcomed the move to give the riders licenses noting that many riders who have been involved in accidents, some leading to death but have had little chances of being compensated since they lacked the licenses.
He said the licenses and training will help the riders a lot in knowing the traffic act, what to do and not to when on the roads.
Last week, NTSA released a report that 3,358 people died on Kenyan roads between January 1 and September 13, 2022, out of which 903 were motorcycle riders.
By Erick Kyalo