12_1_2-2 figure 1.jpg

Risk Factor Profile of Motorcycle Crash Victims in Rural Kenya

Karau PB1, Ogeng’o JA2, Okoro D3, Muia M4, Saumu MW2

  1. School of Medicine, Kenya Methodist University

  2. School of Medicine, the University of Nairobi

  3. Ministry of Health, Kenya

  4. Kenyatta National Hospital

Correspondence to: Dr Paul B Karau, P.O Box 267-60200, Meru, Kenya. Email: pbkarau@gmail.com



Background: Road traffic injuries involvingmotorcycles are increasing especially in rural Kenya resulting in both human and economic loss. This study was done to identify the risk factors and the host characteristics associated with motorcycle injury victims in rural setting so as to institute appropriate interventions for prevention of these incidents.

Methods: A descriptive cross-sectional study conducted at Kangundo District Hospital between 1st July and 31st December 2011.

Results:167 crash victims (136 (81.4%) males, 31 (18.6%) females) were seen. Mean age was 29 years; most victims (94.2%) being aged 16-40 years. Cyclists comprised 61 (36.5%) while 79 (47.3%) were passengers. All cyclists were men; more women were passengers (p, 0.03), while pedestrians were mostly children below 10 years. Most victims (74.3%) did not wear helmets while 72.1% did not wear jackets with reflectors. Alcohol use was recorded in 22.8% of cyclists. About 71.9% of cyclists lacked valid driving licenses. Overloading was common, with 74.8% of the cyclists carrying two or more passengers.

Conclusion: Poor driving skills, reluctance to use protective gear, alcohol use and overloading of passengers were the main risk factors observed. Our observations call for more stringent regulations and aggressive road safety campaigns. Injury prevention and safety promotion campaigns should focus more on the risk factors for motorcycle accidents.

Key Words: Motorcycles, Crash, Risk factors, Rural

12_1_2-2 table 1.jpg
12_1_2-3 table 2.jpg


It is estimated that every day, about 3000 people die and 30,000 are seriously injured in road crashes, with much of the burden borne by low to middle income countries (1). Kenya has a very high road crash fatality rate, with over 3000 deaths being recorded annually (2). Road traffic crashes are the leading traumatic cause of morbidity, mortality and disab