You all know Brian by now! Our monthly columnist, our Regional Champion for Anglophone Africa, a trained facilitator, long term champion of YOURS as well as a life long road safety protagonist. Alongside all of his road safety activity, Brian is champioining some pioneering research into the use helmets for Boda-Boda drivers (also known as motorcycle taxis) in Uganda. We support his efforts and ask you to also invest in his research. This is one of the first crowd sourced road safety research campaigns in history, lets make history together and make young riders in Uganda safer. More from Brian below.
I became interested in Road Safety in 1998 after my father was involved in a road traffic crash. At the time, I was only 12. While my father survived, he has lived with permanent injuries. It was then that I realized and experienced the significant damage caused to the victim and the families both economically and psychologically. Since my father’s traffic crash, I have been passionate about raising awareness on road safety issues in my local community and identifying effective means of making Uganda’s roads safer for everyone.
Many people don’t realize this but in Sub-Saharan Africa, Road Traffic Crashes are the leading cause of death and disability for people between the ages of 15-29.
In Uganda, motorcycle taxis called Boda Bodas have been nicknamed killing machines. According to the Uganda Police Force accident records for 2013, there were 6,831 reported Boda Boda accidents, killing 1,098 people and injuring 6,578.
Looking beyond the numbers, Boda Boda drivers are young men seeking to make a living for themselves and their families by transporting people on the back of their motorbikes. It’s a dangerous job, but also a lucrative one in an economy that struggles with high unemployment. When a driver is in a Boda Boda accident, his death or his injuries have a severe impact on the wellbeing of his family.
This study wants to see if there is a way to save the lives of Boda Boda drivers by scientifically testing the effectiveness of an intervention that seeks to increase helmet usage. While helmets are required by law, there is low enforcement and few drivers wear helmets.
Ugandan Boda-Boda Riders
In the field of road safety, evidence is needed on simple cost effective measure that change people’s behavior. In Uganda and other parts of Sub-Saharan Africa there is a lack of evidence and evaluations of interventions to improve road safety but so often the funding prevents this. As a researcher, I am fortunate to have been given a platform from WHO, but I won’t be able to move forward without the funding.
Floor Lieshout YOURS Executive Director said, "Brian is one of our leading youth road safety campaigners in Africa and continues to work tirelessly for the cause. We wholeheartedly support his initiative to find evidence-based solutions to the boda-boda issue in Uganda".
Thank you for any amount you can contribute to this vital effort to save Ugandan lives and improve the safety of our roads.