Integration of Motorcycle Transport in Selected Urban Areas and Its Implication on Safety and Livelihoods in Kenya
Godwin Omondi, Opinde
MetadataShow full item record
Urban centres in Kenya have experienced rapid uptake of motorcycles for commercial transportation to fill the gap between transport service supply and demand. This rapid increase is due to zero rating of motorcycle imports and relatively more efficient and affordable motorized transport offered by this mode. Motorcycle transport presents road safety challenges and opportunities in employment. A review of literature reveals that there is relatively less focus on motorcycle transport services in medium sized urban centres in Kenya considering their vital role as growth centres in devolved governance system. The impact of government’s initiative to promote integration of motorcycles in urban transport systems through Integrated National Transport Policy remains unkown. This study examines integration of motorcycle transport and its implication on safety and livelihoods in Busia, Kakamega and Thika towns in Kenya. It examines integration of motorcycle transport in transport systems in these towns, evaluates the effects of motorcycle transport towards employment generation and assesses safety of motorcycle transport in the respective towns. The study uses descriptive survey design in which random samples of 1093 commercial motorcycle operators are obtained from members in registered motorcycle associations existing in the towns. Questionnaires are designed to obtain information from respondents regarding variables derived from the objectives. Further, key informants are interviewed and focus group discussions are undertaken using a set of items in an interview schedule. Other relevant information are sourced from electronic and non-electronic depositories. Data is statistically analyzed, discussed and displayed in tables and figures. Findings indicate lack of integration of motorcyclists safety needs in design, operation and maintenance of roads and its respective infrastructure in the three towns. Motorcycle transport offers reliable services to key destinations in the towns. Monthly incomes of commercial motorcycle operators increased significantly compared to their monthly earnings before venturing in commercial motorcycle transportation. Their mean daily incomes are above poverty line in Kenya. The number of operators earning below the poverty line decreased by 56%, 40% and 75% in in Busia, Kakamega and Thika towns respectively after venturing in motorcycle transport. Ownership of motorcycle is statistically significant determinant of incomes of commercial motorcycle operators in the three towns while hours worked per day is statistically significant determinant of incomes in Busia and Thika town, p < 0.05. Possession of license is a significant determinant of operators’ monthly earnings in Kakamega town, p < 0.05. Motorcycle accidents are high in Kakamega and low in Busia. Accident incidents are under reported in all the towns. Rider experience and training are not significant predictors of accident involvement among commercial motorcycle operator. Ownership of motorcycle is statistically significant predictor of accident involvement in all the towns while hours at work per day is not statistically significant predictor of accident involvement among operators in all towns. The study concludes that motorcycle transport has improved incomes and reduced poverty among the youths in Busia, Kakamega and Thika. Lack of integration of motorcycle safety needs in road designs and risky rider behaviour leads to unsafe motorcycle transport operation which erodes this gain. The study recommends review of road design manual to incorporate motorcyclist’s safety needs, formulation and implementation of strategies that promote motorcycle ownership to enhance safety and improve livelihoods in urban areas.