Getting in and around Kampala - Tip on Motorbikes/Boda-Bodas
Some 32 percent of the deaths on Ugandan roads take place on a motorbike or scooter. And yet, for locals and tourists alike, the country's No.1 form of transport is the "boda boda", or motorbike taxi. Boda boda are hugely popular in Uganda, with 60,000 operating in the capital alone. In 2001, the president chose to ride up to a pre-election ceremony on a boda boda. The vehicles were originally used as taxis for people who wanted to cross the border with Kenya, which is how they got their name ("border border"). In 2009, 756 people were killed on motorbikes in Uganda and over 15,000 were injured. The Commissioner for Traffic and Road Safety blames six out of 10 road accidents on careless boda boda drivers. In response to the startling statistics, the authorities launched an offensive against dangerous motorbike driving in February this year. Some 1,500 chauffeurs had their bikes confiscated in the first few days for lacking a permit. Despite the crackdown, reports of longstanding corruption in the police force could see many unlawful boda boda drivers continue to take passengers.
"I take boda boda often, but I don’t really have a choice”
“Even though it costs more to take a boda boda than a taxi or bus, it's the quickest way of getting around town because of the heavy traffic.
The drivers take a lot of risks. Many of them don't have a license and don't follow the highway code. They drive the wrong way and ignore the lights.
I take a boda boda at least four times a week and I do get quite scared sometimes. But I don't really have a choice."
Neither this driver nor his passenger is wearing a helmet, despite a law that requires boda boda drivers to have two helmets (along with a "Passenger Service Vehicle" sticker, insurance and a reflective jacket, and which prohibits more than two people riding on the vehicle at one time).