July 1, 2013 (JUBA) - Thousands of people travel each day in South Sudan’s capital of Juba by boda-boda but accidents involving this popular bicycle taxi are on the rise, mostly due to a lack of understanding of traffic rules.
- A female patient with a broken leg gets moved past an injured man on the floor at the emergency ward at the Juba Teaching hospital, which has a shortage of beds, on 19 July 2012 (Photo: Paula Bronstein/Getty Images)
Bakhita Dawut, 34, who had a boda-boda accident this week, says the bike collided with another one and injured her hands and legs.
"I need to tell these boys of the boda that they don’t need to go in hurry while on the public road. The traffic rules need to be respected. When you’re on the road they need to know that you are on the public property", said Dawut.
Dawut blamed the other driver whom she said took wrong side of the other street. She appealed to all boda –boda riders to respect rules of the traffic.
20-year-old boda-boda driver Joseph Lako says three months ago he collided with a car, which broke his leg and killed his brother at the scene.
He is still receiving treatment in Juba Teaching Hospital.
"We were on a motorbike and immediately a bus driver hit them behind and reached us and hit us as well. Then traffic police officer intervened and blew the whistle and after all he hit us, we were three on the bike and my brother died on spot and the rider who was a cousin survived with serious injuries all over his body and I had my leg broken. It is a terrible situation now for me” Lako said.
Boda riders blame the accident on the drivers of large, expensive cars that they claim do not give way on the roads.
Mohamed Ali , a boda boda rider in Juba Jabel Market, says the expensive car drivers do not respect the road even if you are on the right side.
"He just want to pass because he thinks the car is expensive. You leave way for him and they don’t follow the traffic laws," Ali said.
"You may be on the right side but they knock you. After knocking you they say this V-8 is a Hummer. Hummer cannot make accidents, yet it has already happened" he added.
South Sudan traffic officials say they hope to improve the situation through public education, conducting seminars and workshops about traffic rules.
Mayom Wuor, a traffic officer, says most of these accidents are caused by drivers who never go by rules of traffic and do not see the round-about properly when they are in a hurry.
"Whenever there is a jam at the round-about then people rush the road and that makes it difficult for them to go without problem" Wuor said.
Wuor say they are trying to have clear rules. “That is why we are stationed at every part of the city, so that there is no accident. But this doesn’t prevent accidents from happening because some young people who are around 15 escape with their parents’ bikes and go on street for boda business”, added Wuor.
At Juba Teaching Hospital, victims of Boda-boda accidents arrive daily, the Director of Emergencies and Accidents at the hospital Dr. Mapuor Mading says. He says that accident-related deaths are on the rise, often due to a delay in treatment.
“For this month I have already received 24 cases of road traffic accidents and these are caused by motorcycles and these cases are not just minor injuries, they are injuries of fractures," Mading added.