By Patrick Jaramogi and Darious Magara
Boda-boda passengers who do not wear crash helmets will be arrested and fined sh20,000 or jailed for a month or both, the Police has warned.
â€œWe are not against President Yoweri Museveniâ€™s views regarding the health of passengers wearing helmets but we are implementing the law. We are concerned about saving lives. It is mandatory, as stipulated in the law, and we are sticking to this unless the law is amended,â€ said Lawrence Niwabine, the Kampala Metropolitan traffic chief.
Addressing boda-boda riders at Busabala Primary School last week, Museveni supported the ongoing crackdown on cyclists who flout traffic regulations.
He stressed that helmets offer protection in case of accidents.
â€œPassengers who say helmets transmit diseases when they are used by many people should carry their own when they use boda-bodas,â€ Museveni said.
Niwabine said they held discussions with the President over the matter.
â€œWe appeal to passengers who cannot purchase their own crash helmets to wrap a small piece of cloth on their heads before wearing the helmets to avoid contracting diseases,â€ he said at a media briefing held at the Kampala Central Police Station.
Niwabine demonstrated to journalists how passengers should tie a cloth on their heads before wearing helmets.
He disclosed that 2,251 motorcycles were impounded in the crackdown last week.
â€œWe also cleared 369 cyclists who produced documents requested by the Police and charged 11 cyclists in the courts of law,â€ he said.
He added that 619 motorcycles were still impounded at the various stations in Kampala.
Niwabine announced that for the first time in two years, fatal accidents caused by boda-bodas had reduced.
â€œSeven boda-boda riders crashed to death in the first week of January. Four died in the second week, five in the third, another five in the first week of February but since we started the operation, only two people have died in Kampala,â€ Niwabine noted.
He said the number of those injured by boda-bodas had also reduced.
â€œIn the first week, we registered 55 injured persons. The second week had 15 people and this week, no person registered so far,â€ he said.
Meanwhile, over 250 boda-boda riders were yesterday registered following a directive by the Kampala resident district commissioner, Alice Muwanguzi.
The exercise kicked off at Nsambya grounds for riders in the Central Division. It did not take off at the other registration centres in the city.
They included Hollywood grounds for Makindye riders, Veterans market Wakaliga for those in Rubaga and Naguru grounds for riders in Nakawa.
Muwanguzi said the exercise would proceed as scheduled for one week.