Kampala’s Urgent Road Safety Challenge Unveiled

The unveiling of Kampala’s Annual Road Safety Report and Media Campaign on December 11, at the Mayor’s Parlour, presented a somber outlook on road safety in the city, exposing consistent and alarming statistics that demand immediate attention.

Mayor Erias Lukwago expressed profound concern over the persistently high number of road traffic deaths, citing an annual loss of 400 lives and a rate of 12 persons per 100,000 population.

Lukwago stressed the urgency of action, particularly targeting the safety of pedestrians and motorcyclists, who constitute a staggering 94% of crash fatalities in Kampala.

A recent tragic incident at Namboole, involving 12 cars, underscored the pressing need to address the city’s road safety challenges.

Lukwago emphasized the importance of adopting a safe systems approach, focusing on infrastructure enhancement and establishing a dedicated road safety unit at the Ministry of Works to coordinate efforts and regulate traffic management.

The report, crafted by Bloomberg Philanthropies Initiative for Global Road Safety (BIGRS), revealed a 1% increase in reported deaths in 2022, reaching 425, with a slight drop in the death rate from 12 to 11.6 per 100,000 population. However, reported crashes increased by 5%, indicating a growing concern.

Vulnerable road users, such as pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists, accounted for a staggering 94% of deaths in 2022, with motorcyclists alone contributing to 49% of fatalities.

The findings also indicated a high proportion of male victims (76%), with the age group 20 to 29 years representing the highest percentage of deaths (22%).

High-risk fatal crash locations were identified along major roads, including Gayaza roundabout (Kalerwe)-Kyebando Police Post, Kissasi-Naalya roundabout, Entebbe Road, Ggaba Road, and Busega-Namugoona roundabout, highlighting the need for targeted interventions.

Sylviane Ratte, Director of the Global Road Safety Program at Vital Strategies, advocated for a comprehensive approach to address identified crash areas, emphasizing the importance of enforcement and infrastructure improvements.

Senior Commissioner of Police Lawrence Nuwabine lauded Mayor Lukwago for his dedication to road safety, assuring continued support from the traffic police and road safety directorate. Nuwabine stressed the significance of transparent statistics in guiding their work.

Nuwabine called for a reevaluation of strategies and a stronger emphasis on a safe system approach, including the regulation of motorcycle sales and improved public transport.

The report will serve as a cornerstone for evidence-based decision-making to reduce road traffic deaths in future reports.

The Ministry of Works and Transport, represented by Judith Karara, the Senior Road Safety Officer, acknowledged the need for rethinking strategies and protecting pedestrians through the safe system approach.

Eng Jacob Byamukama emphasized the urgency of implementing change and policy improvements.

KCCA, with support from the government and other collaborators, has implemented various measures to enhance road safety, yet the challenge persists.

Some of the initiatives include establishing walkways on roads, painting pedestrian crossings along city roads, installing humps and speed limit signages, and training boda bodas, among others.

The launch concluded with a collective call to action, urging stakeholders to advocate for road safety, implement effective enforcement and training strategies, and collaborate to create a safer urban environment for all road users in Kampala.