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Motorist fined Sh 2 million for killing boda boda rider

In a precedence-setting ruling that could potentially change how car drivers relate with boda boda riders, the High Court has awarded Sh2 million to the family of a 46-year-old man who died after being knocked down by a speeding motorist while he was riding a motor cycle three years ago on a city Highway.

Mr Bernard Mbugua’s widow had sued Mr Solomon Karanja Githingi, a private motorist, for negligence that caused her husband’s death in September 21, 2010.

According to the mother of four, who filed the suit with initials of her names, the deceased suffered fatal injuries and was in a lot of pain for a period of 32 days before meeting his death and left her widowed with no source of income for the family.

She had told the court that his husband had been a butcher in Kayole who earned Sh2,000 in a day. But since Mr Githinji had argued that the deceased had not worn a helmet at the time of the accident on Mombasa road, and that he had helped save his life by rushing him to the Kenyatta hospital, Justice Hatari Waweru ruled that he was partly responsible for the death.

“I am thus satisfied upon balance, based on the evidence, that Mr Githinji caused the accident in which the deceased underwent treatment for 32 days before he finally succumbed, there is no evidence that he was unconscious during this time. He must have suffered a lot of pain in that one month-plus,” said the judge.


In his ruling Justice Waweru, pointed out that he had considered the fact that the dependents’ dependency upon the deceased would have been not more than two-thirds of the available income before declaring that the family is entitled to Sh 3million.

He awarded the woman Sh1.1 million while the children are to get the remaining amount however the cash is to be kept in an interest earning joint account with the names of the High Court’s deputy registrar and Mr Githinji until the siblings attain a maturity age.

“Doing the best that I can, and balancing this against that, I will award a lump sum of Sh3,000,000 under the Fatal Accidents Act. This award will be reduced by 30 per cent contributory negligence, thus leaving the sum of Sh 2,100,000,” the judge ruled.

On the fateful day of August 20, 2010, Mr Githinji’s had veered off the Highway to a petrol station. His vehicle was allegedly in the middle of the road while returning to the highway at the same time the deceased was branching.

Mr Githinji was to give him way but he did not and has never been prosecuted for causing death by dangerous driving although he had reported to the police.

“If he had stopped earlier, before entering that road, the deceased would in all likelihood have safely passed. There was no evidence that the deceased was over-speeding or otherwise riding his cycle without due care and attention,” the judge added.