Thousands of boda boda and tuktuk operators licensed to ferry people will soon be required to have third party insurance cover to safeguard their passengers and pedestrians in the event of an accident.
Treasury secretary Henry Rotich in his budget reading Thursday proposed to have the operators dig deeper into their pockets to foot the extra cost in order to help cater to medical expenses incurred when an accident occurs.
“Boda boda transport provides cheap transport and employs a large number of youths but when an accident occurs, victims mostly from the lower cadres of society solicit financial assistance from family and friend to offset medical expenses as these boda bodas are not insured,” he said.
Mr Rotich said this was necessitated by the rising number of accidents that have left many injured and unable to foot hefty bills.
The finance boss said the Insurance (Motor Vehicle Third Party Risks, Certificate of Insurance) regulations will be amended to require all passenger-carrying boda bodas and tuktuks follow the new rules.
The new directive is set to bring in a new business line for insurance companies who will provide cover for the nearly 1.3 million motorcycles plying various routes in the country.
Between January and November 2018, 511 people died from motorcycle-related accidents, being a 17 per cent jump from 2017’s recorded fatalities that stood at 437.
However, the growing number of motorcycle deaths has not stopped the popularity of boda bodas among Kenyans.
Official data shows increased registrations in 2018 by 17 per cent to stand at 188,994 compared to 2017’s new registrations of 186,434.
In the past decade, a total of 1,359,993 motorcycles have been registered with the entire value chain from wholesale and retail trade, repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles employing 258,900 people as at December 31, 2018.
Motorcycles are fairly cheap, retailing at between Sh58,000 and Sh130,00, thus enabling many youth to acquire them for business.
Increased demand for bikes has also attracted several companies that have set up assembly plants in Nairobi and Mombasa for imported completely knocked down units.
Besides the popular TVS, other models on Kenyan roads are Japan’s Honda, Indian firm Bajaj’s brands such as Boxer, Toyota Kenya’s Yamaha as well as a myriad of low-cost Chinese brands.
Honda opened a local assembly with an initial capacity of 25,000 units a year in 2013.