Can airbags reduce deaths and injuries among bodaboda riders?
Bodaboda accidents in Kenya continue to claim many lives, with over 1,400 fatalities recorded from January to September 2022, according to traffic police data.
In fact, over 1,000 of those killed were bodaboda riders, with the remainder being passengers.
The National Police Service also reported that motorcycle accidents claimed the lives of 1,270 people in 2021 alone.
Most of those involved in these accidents sustain fractures, cranial trauma, and soft tissue injuries. This worrying trend has prompted calls for reforms in the industry.
One innovation that could significantly reduce the number of deaths and injuries is the airbag.
Unlike traditional airbags found in cars, these are inflatable jackets that riders can wear while operating their motorcycles.
When the sensors detect sudden deceleration, acceleration, or loss of balance, the airbags deploy within milliseconds, providing additional protection to the rider who is thrown from the bike.
The belt system ensures the rider is secured in place and automatically unfastens in less severe crashes or if the rider tries to stand up while the bike is stopped.
If embraced, airbags could help mitigate the risks that bodaboda riders face on the road, especially given that over 60% of them are below 35 years old.
It’s an essential sector that contributes significantly to the country’s economy, with the youth accounting for 76% of the population.
When such an invention is embraced, the number of deaths or injuries associated with bodaboda might reduce.