Cyclists of the Ugandan ride-hailing App, SafeBoda are asking government to create parking lanes on traffic light points specifically for motorcyclists as a way of reducing road accidents often occasioned on them by cars and big trucks.
The request was made by Ricky Papa Thompson, one of the proprietors of SafeBoda, during the transportation company’s bi-annual fete at Lugogo Cricket Oval, on Sunday.
He said that despite members of his company abiding by the traffic laws, they risk being knocked down by other vehicles at traffic lights. Thompson said that under such circumstances, the other motorists often falsely accuse SafeBoda cyclists of being on a wrong side of the road.
‘’We ask you to put a way for Boda Boda riders to park on traffic lights in order to protect us from being knocked down by taxi and other truck operators who always blame us for parking on roadsides, which is false,” he said.
“These accusations are there because we have no specified ways on points with traffic lights,’’ he added.
The young entrepreneur who is dedicated to improving the Boda Boda transport in the county also asked government to reduce on charges for issuing driving permits to the cyclists, arguing the current cost so high.
From government, Sunday’s vent was attended by Minister for Kampala, Beti Olive Kamya as well as representatives from the Ministry of Works and Transport.
Kamya pledged government support to the group saying she was pleased that they are well organized under a formidable umbrella – which groupings government has always advodated for.
She heaped praise on SafeBoda riders for exhibiting discipline on roads as well as respecting road safety rules especially for respecting traffic lights.
“I want to appreciate the founders of SafeBoda for raising the reputation of boda boda riding because previously, the cyclists were perceived as lazy and unproductive people. But as we speak, that perception has changed and you are more responsible,’’ she said
“Now that you are organized and we have where to find you, government will plan for you and positively respond to your requests because we know that we are talking to a formidable force,” the Minister added.
Kamya said: “Government can’t ignore you. We shall sit with you and discuss on how we can streamline this occupation since government is the enabler and regulator of all activities in the country’’.
Additionally, Kamya tipped boda boda riders to be vigilant against individuals who disguise as being part of them and engage in acts of criminality. She said that such elements paint an ugly picture about the industry.
The event was also characterized by entertainment, from comedians Madrat and Chiko as well as music diva, Spice Diana. It also saw different lucky cyclists win prizes including life insurance cover, motorbikes and gas cylinders.
Boda bodas have become the backbone of public transport in Uganda and without doubt, the fastest way to get around the capital city, Kampala. The boda boda is a staple used by all sectors of society.
SafeBoda was found in 2014, to create entrepreneurial opportunities, curve out safe and professional standards in the transportation industry and also encourage a network of cyclists who are responsible, foresighted, entrepreneurial and well clued on customer care.
They are unique from traditional boda boda cyclists in the same transport industry in a way that they have uniquely identified with numbers on their helmets and reflector jackets so that passengers can easily identify them.
They also carry extra helmets for their passengers and they also carry hairnets to ensure that the passengers do not need to worry hygiene issues.
Due to the fact that the business is fast growing, several other companies including Taxify, Uber Boda have joined the industry and competition is projected to double in the next couple of years.