The National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) has asked boda boda riders to familiarise and comply with new regulations that became effective this year.
The NTSA Regulations 2015 for motorcycles, which came into force on January 1, seek to tame boda boda accidents and attract a fine not exceeding Sh20,000 or a jail term of not more than six months or both for offenders.
Addressing boda boda riders in Meru town, NTSA Enforcement Officer Wilson Sankei and Traffic Commander Vincent Maroko said they will immediately start crackdowns to arrest riders who do not observe the regulations.
Mr Sankei said the new regulations require every rider to have two yellow helmets and two reflector jackets.
“Both rider and passenger must wear helmets and reflector jackets inscribed with the registration number of the motorcycle. A child less than 13 years must wear a helmet designed for children and must sit between the rider and passenger,” reads part of the regulations.
Riders are also required to have PSV insurance, a valid driving license and a minimum third-party insurance.
The regulations restrict luggage dimensions to 15 centimetre's width beyond the handle bars, a height of two metres from the ground, no rear projection beyond 60 centimetres and no load dragging on the road.
Boda boda operators have been carrying children sitting in front of the rider besides ferrying all manner of loads including live animals.
“Under these regulations, riders must carry only one pillion passenger. It is illegal to carry a passenger and a load at the same time. Passengers must sit astride and use foot rests with exception to persons with disability,” Mr Sankei noted.
The county traffic commander said anyone buying a new motorcycle for boda boda operations should demand two helmets and two reflector jackets from the dealers.
“Cases of accidents involving boda boda riders remain high due to blatant disregard of the law. You should report any motorcycle dealer who does not provide two helmets and two reflector jackets. We will be increasing road checks to arrest those who do not comply,” Mr Maroko said.
The boda boda operators were also encouraged to form Saccos to help in regulating the business.
NTSA in consultation with county governments shall designate areas and hours of operation for riders.
According to NTSA, 88 people have died since January 1 while more than 20 others died between Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve.
Out of the 88 deaths, 35 were pedestrians, 19 passengers, 19 motorcyclists, three cyclists and four pillion passengers.