Motorcycle registrations rose 53 percent in five years, highlighting the growing popularity of boda boda as a means of transport and source of income.
Official data shows that the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) registered 285,203 motorcycles in 2021 compared to the 186,434 registered in 2017. During the review period, the highest growth was recorded between 2019 and 2020 when 36,603 motorcycles were registered.
Boda bodas continue to gain popularity among Kenyans because they are able to evade traffic and can access places where other traditional means of transport such as taxis and matatus cannot.
Increased demand for bikes has also attracted several companies that have set up assembly plants in Nairobi and Mombasa for imported completely-knocked-down units.
Besides the popular TVS, other models on Kenyan roads are Japan’s Honda, Indian firm Bajaj’s brands such as Boxer, Toyota Kenya’s Yamaha as well as a myriad of low-cost Chinese brands.
A recent study by the listed firm Car & General (C&G) #ticker:CGEN , which sells motorcycles, their spare parts and other engineering equipment, shows that the boda boda sector supports six million livelihoods indirectly, which translates to about 10 percent of the country’s population.
The sector provides one million direct jobs for riders earning Sh1 billion daily, underlining its importance to Kenya’s economy.
Despite its importance, the sector has its dark side. In March this year, the government launched a countrywide crackdown on the boda boda operators over indiscipline.
The motorcycle business was put in the spotlight when some riders assaulted a female motorist on Nairobi’s Wangari Maathai Road, sparking widespread condemnation of the boda boda menace.