Sustainable Development Goal 3 on Good Health and Wellbeing declares that by 2020 the number of global deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents would be reduced. This is a delightful goal that has been bypassed by events because it is 2022 and Ugandan roads have death nets rather than safety nets or regulations.
If you have been knocked crossing the road then you know the life and death terror in it. If you have been knocked driving you also know the near-death experience.
Reading a 2021 Independent record it is cited that 1,146 were killed in 2020 Boda-boda accidents while 409 passengers on motorcycles died. It also indicates that in September 2020 a total of 1,270 accidents occurred claiming the lives of 365 people.
In 2019, September had 1,113 accidents in total and 356 lives were lost.
In September 2021, 229 people perished in 1,407 road accidents. Note this article focused on the month of September for three years. Now just imagine how many people lost their lives or got injuries as a result of road accidents from January to December in each of those years.
I have been knocked crossing a road and having seen road accidents I have a phobia that prevents me from driving. I have also lost people who never made it crossing the road or driving through Uganda’s crazy trail.
Talking from the cowardly position, I deem Ugandan roads a near-death experience altogether. A Tanzanian friend once asked me about Ugandan driving skills and I told him ‘We keep both left and right’ while other countries keep right or left. This sums up some of the crazy on Ugandan roads.
As we move on towards meeting Sustainable Development Goal 3 for good health and well-being with regard to road safety. There is a need to device new targets for Uganda, with a lot of advocacy around restoring citizens’ respect of zebra crossings, traffic lights, and road signs.
There is a need for walkovers in peak zones where lots of people cross such as markets, schools, and industrial areas.
Traffic police services are much needed in peak zones to ward off rowdy drivers. Jumbo humps that cause speed reductions should be considered rather than the thin layered and sometimes uncomfortable humps.
When constructing roads UNRA should emphasize the construction of quality walkways and bike passages to ensure less interaction between the pedestrians, Boda riders, and moving vehicles.