JUBA, March 28 (Xinhua) -- The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) on Wednesday launched the road safety campaign in which it distributed protective gear to hundreds of commercial motorcyclists in a bid to prevent accidents.
The UNMISS head David Shearer told journalists that commercial motorcyclists, the common means of transport in Juba and surrounding towns in South Sudan, are critical to the economy of the country.
"It is great pleasure to be supporting the boda boda (commercial motorcyclists) in Juba. Without you Juba would come to a standstill and nobody would be able to travel around. And we understand that you do a big service to the economy of Juba and South Sudan," he said in Juba.
Shearer noted that most families are being sustained by this business amid ongoing economic hardship.
Many accidents around Juba have been blamed on reckless motor cycle riders, coupled with the incessant robberies that are aided by use of motorcycles.
Taban Michael 27, a commercial motorcyclist since 2008 and still pursuing studies in clinical medicine said the 1,500 helmets and reflector jackets donated by UNMISS will improve their protection during work and help distinguish them from criminals.
"The helmet protects me when I get accident and the reflector jacket will identify me at night," he said he and host of colleagues marched through Juba streets in a campaign dubbed ride of peace and safety.
Another commercial motorcyclist Vuni Kennedy Wani, 26, said they now feel more secure at work and will no longer spend their hard earned money on purchasing the expensive helmet, adding they are free from being harassed and arrests by police authorities.
"These days even riding a motorcycle is a problem especially at night, people (robbers) will just attack and you don't know where they are coming from. So we need peace," he said.
He disclosed that some of their workmates have died due to persistent insecurity and several have had their motorcycles stolen.