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Almost enough to put you off motorcycling

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shock Almost enough to put you off motorcycling

Post  SteveCat Fri May 30 2014, 20:35

Peering out the aircraft window as Lake Victoria gives way to land I see a number of small motorbikes heading along a dirt road alongside Entebbe Airport. In the airport car park there are some more. Nearly all are 100~120cc Chinese or Indian made, I'm to see about 2,000 more during the hour long trip into Kampala, also saw a few Harleys, an SV1000 and a Fazer.

My driver tells me they are called Boda Boda's, Uganda's bus service.

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Apparently it is law to wear a helmet, well at least for the rider, but as you can see in the pic most hang theirs over the headlight, they even have a bracket welded on over the headlight just to hold the helmet in place. I saw a very small child sitting on the fuel tank of one, just gravity and the riders' arm keeping it from falling off. Another had a pig tied onto a 'shelf' on the back of a C90 cub (or a Chinese replica). Some ladies prefer to sit side saddle, whilst others don't mind sitting astride the bike, some clutching onto their children, shopping or what have you - Welcome back to Africa, I think I have become too used to living in London!!

I would estimate that not one would pass an MOT, apparently all riders need to have a license - whilst they show dexterity, I doubt very many would pass a UK test.
There were  a few inclines which proved too much for some machines, with the rider helping pushing the bike along with the fare paying passenger sitting on the back. One chap had run out of petrol and was filling up from a plastic bag - eye opening stuff.
The thing is these bikes go in any direction at any time and it's nothing for them to ride on the wrong side of the road.

Naturally with this amount of chaos something is bound to go wrong, that's when I came to the conclusion that the bikes and riders must be made of rubber. A 4x4 type came past hooting at high speed, 30 seconds later we saw it had stopped at a strange angle in the road and a Boda Boda on its' side - the rider jumps up, picks up the bike, the only 'damage' was that the seat had came off - I guess because they are not bolted on.  Several more knocks with bikes and riders parting company were seen and in some cases those carrying passengers also being sent flying with their possessions.

Initially I was intrigued by them, but can see why the drivers find them the bane of their lives.

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