Boda Boda Operators now Required to Cover Passenger Insurance

Boda boda and tuktuk operators will be required to carry third-party insurance in the case of an accident, protecting their passengers and pedestrians.

The Insurance Regulatory Authority (IRA) has suggested revisions to the motor vehicle insurance laws that were implemented in 1999, making it illegal for motorbike taxis to operate without passenger coverage.

Motorcycles and three-wheelers used for non-public services such as social, domestic, and recreational purposes are currently required to have third-party insurance.

The inclusion of fare-paying motorcyclists was driven by an increase in the frequency of accidents that have left many people injured and unable to pay large expenses.

The new directive is expected to open up a new market for insurance providers, who will be able to cover the almost 1.5 million motorcyclists that ply the country’s numerous routes.

“There is no legal requirement for the operators to take up insurance policies as boda bodas and tuktuks are not indicated in the category of motor vehicles used by fare-paying passengers. This leaves room for speculation as to whether they ought to take insurance cover or not. The law, however, provides for insurance cover for motorcycles and motorized three-wheelers used for social, domestic and leisure purposes.” Godfrey Kiptum, the IRA chief executive.

Revision of the Motor Vehicle Third Party Risks, Certificate of Insurance

This comes as motorbike taxi companies such as Bolt expand in Kenya, backed by investors who believe the stratospheric ascent of two-wheeled taxi companies in Asia can be reproduced in some of the world’s fastest-growing economies.

Some commuters in Kenya’s cities, particularly Nairobi, like the notion of reserving a motorbike taxi through a firm that has qualified drivers and equips passengers with a helmet.

The Insurance (Motor Vehicle Third Party Risks, Certificate of Insurance) regulations will be revised, according to the regulator, to require all passenger-carrying boda bodas and tuktuks to adhere to the new standards.

High rate of accidents 

According to Kiptum, there has been a high rate of accidents occasioned by boda bodas leaving the injured fare-paying passengers with no recourse or access to medical services

While unofficial motorcycle taxis have existed for years, the new businesses are seeking to gain a foothold in the market by providing trained, accountable drivers and the convenience of booking rides using a mobile app.

The State is seeking to make it mandatory for boda bodas to carry third-party insurance for the second time in three years, citing an increase in the number of incidents that have left many people injured and unable to pay outrageous costs.

Last year, 439 passengers perished in motorbike accidents, which was more than double the 217 fatalities in 2016.

The rising number of deaths, however, hasn’t diminished Kenyans’ enthusiasm for boda bodas.

Annual registrations have more than doubled in the last five years, with 252,601 new listings compared to 123, 539 in 2016. Motorcycles are relatively inexpensive, costing between Sh65,000 and Sh130,00, allowing many young people to purchase them for commercial purposes.

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