We Don’t Know Helmet Standards – Bodaboda riders

The bodaboda riders have said they do not know the standards of crash helmets. The commercial motorcyclists while speaking at Safe Way Right Way (SWRW) sensitization workshop at Kiswa Hall in Nakawa Division on Thursday said they just buy helmets to protect their heads but rarely consider the standards.

Sylvester Ndagize a leader of bodaboda riders in Makindye Division said most of them cannot distinguish between a fake and genuine crash helmet.

“I thank Safe Way Right Way for sensitizing us on helmet standards. Many of us just buy helmets but we cannot tell whether it’s fake or genuine. We believe these trainings will help us know standards,” Ndagize said.

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Susan Tumuhairwe the Programmes Coordinator for Safe Way Right Way said one can tell that a crash helmet is substandard using it’s weight and shell. Tumuhairwe explained that if the helmet weighs like a plastic plate or is too heavy like a brick, chances are it’s fake.

“A standard crash helmet has a strong shell. It’s inner lining must be enough to accommodate the head without difficulty. It must not be too light like a plastic plate,” Tumuhairwe said.

The training attracted at least 250 bodaboda riders mostly from Nakawa Division areas. However, all the leaders of bodaboda riders from the five divisions that make Kampala City were present.

Ibrahim Jarimani the chairman of bodaboda riders in Nakawa Division operating at Akamweesi hostel said some of his colleagues lost their memory after getting involved in traffic crashes without wearing crash helmets.

“You can know how important the helmet is when you have been involved in a road crash. Two of my colleagues cannot even remember their names. Another one died even after his father sold almost everything to safe his life,” Jarimani said.

James Katunguka from the ministry of Works and Transport quoted Safe Way Right Way report to warn bodaboda riders against not wearing crash helmets.

“The Safety Way study showed that 14 percent of bodaboda riders have crash helmets but do not wear them. Why do you buy helmets that you do not wear. You buy these helmets not for anyone else but to protect your lives,” Katunguka said.

Kampala metropolitan deputy traffic police commander, SP Justine Opus, said many bodaboda riders give funny excuses that crash helmets cause them heat or they do not breathe well.

“You have to choose between heat and nursing injuries in the hospital or even death. You rather wear the helmet and feel heat when you’re on the road than dying or getting admitted in the hospital,” SP Opus said.

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