This morning must have been one of my lucky days. I walked away from an accident that could have cost me my life. I remember walking up to the road and taking the bike, more commonly known as ‘moto’ that seemed new and in great condition.
I picked the bike purely by chance since nothing would have led me to know what lay ahead. As we negotiated the price the motor cyclist price quote was amazingly low.
“Only Frw400.” However a few minutes after I boarded it, I was sprawled across the road in dust. Well wishers were all over me trying to see if I had survived what was my very first motor bike accident. Amazingly I limped away from it with only minor injuries.
“Many people are however are not as lucky,” confirmed traffic police boss Robert Niyonshuti in a recent press conference, “163 cases were reported in March this year. 44 of the cases were fatal. The police department is however using community education and public policing to curb this number.
Medical practitioner, Steve Shaka, has been working in a hospital emergency room for the last two years and says motor bikes accidents are higher than any other accident cases he has had to deal with.
“Motor bike accidents are deadly because the passenger is not supported in any way and hence incase of an accident they are thrown off the bike. The helmets hardly ever work leaving the passenger’s head shattered or in deadly injuries.”
“Complications that develop as a result of motor bike accidents include, chest, brain, bone injuries. Most of these complications end up in fatalities.
“This motor biker drivers are very reckless they cross the road on a whim and in the process put the lives of their passengers at risk. Young people especially love using motor bikes despite their unreliability. The complications that result from these accidents are terrible and most of our serious surgeries are resulted from motor bike accidents.”
Shaka remarks that it is important to see a physician after a motor bike accident even though there no any visible injury. Even though there is no pain he says you might have sustained internal injuries that need immediate doctor attention.
“Most of the accident complications are reversible but if you don’t seek medical advice they can get worse. Internal injuries are not always visible and hence no one should assume they are okay until they have consulted a doctor. Don’t assume you are okay until a doctor tells you that you are.”
Traffic officers advise that one’s safety should always be a top priority. One should observe the cyclist for drunkenness or any strange behaviour, and should not be too intimidated to tell him to slow down or to get off, should they feel unsafe.
“Always wear a helmet, and try to hold onto the cyclist or the bike,” Mugabo a frequent user of ‘motos’ advices. Dr. Shaka confirmed that “Head injuries are very sensitive and fatal in some cases so make sure you have a helmet anytime you get on a bike no matter how short the ride is.”
“Contact with unwashed helmets is a major cause of skin related diseases. Protect yourself by using a handkerchief or a cap when wearing the helmet. Make sure you are not directly in contact with it. Skin diseases are real and can be spread this way.
For many, the ‘moto’ is the most convenient and affordable mode of transport. Any time we disembark from one, we must remember those who never did. The onus is on us to fight reckless driving not only by motorcyclists, but all road users, including pedestrians. Our safety should be ensured at all costs.