Motorists in Kampala have been warned they could be fined if they are caught stopping in yellow box junctions or making illegal U-turns.
Yellow box junctions were introduced in Kampala six months ago to help ease on the traffic jam in the city but several motorists continue to abuse them.
In a bid to curb this abuse and reduce congestion and make roads safer in the city, Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) has started sensitization engagements with road users on proper road usage.
On Wednesday 19th October 2022 the Directorate of Engineering and Technical Services held a yellow box and pedestrian signals awareness meeting on at Hotel Triangle in Kampala.
The meeting was attended by various stakeholders, including Boda Boda riders, taxi operators, bus operators, Ministry of Works and Transport and Uganda Police among others.
KCCA together with the police is also using traffic enforcement in order to manage roads known to be hotspots for traffic offences, like banned right or left turns, illegal U-turns and going the wrong way in a one-way street.
Irene Namuyiga, a road safety engineer at KCCA says the objective of the meeting was to disseminate the proper use of junctions and the respect for the yellow box at the junctions and also educate the same about the pedestrian crossings at signals.
The yellow box is a road traffic control measure designed to prevent congestion and gridlock at junctions. The yellow box is placed on the road junction to create a traffic free space that prevents gridlocks.
The rule, therefore, is that motorists must ensure that the road ahead is clear before entering the yellow box as stopping in the box is a breach of regulations.
All motorists including boda boda riders are supposed to respect this rule. When you are on the road and driving a motorcycle you have the same right as a motor vehicle driver. You have to follow the same road rules and respect them,” Namuyiga said.
“If the space meant for motorcycles is congested, motorcyclists should wait in the lane meant for vehicles,” she adds.
Kampala Metropolitan Traffic Police Commander Kauma Nsereko said they are hoping that cracking down on offences such as blocking junctions will help improve on road safety and traffic flow.
Nsereko says that even when the traffic light turns green during traffic jam, if where you are going is not clear, you are supposed to wait behind or outside the junction box instead of driving into it to block traffic.
“You are not supposed to drive into the junction and wait in the available space. You will block the other vehicles that have way and could have gone but now they will not proceed because you have blocked them,” Nsereko said.
Motorists must ensure that the road ahead is clear before entering the yellow box as stopping in the box is a breach of regulations.
Many box junctions have cameras in place, and you could be fined if you’re caught using the box incorrectly.
Some Boda boda riders have asked authorities in Kampala to carry out strict enforcement of moving traffic offences, such as stopping in yellow box junctions and making of U-turns.
KCCA has placed yellow boxes at the Parliamentary Avenue junction, Kiira Road Police Station junction and at Bukoto junction on the Bukoto-Ntinda and Bukoto-Kisaasi Roads. There are also plans to roll out another 27 boxes at junctions within the Kampala Metropolitan Area.
Namuyiga says junction yellow boxes are meant to educate, discipline and create awareness among road users by introducing order on the roads, especially those with high traffic volumes.
Ibrahim Ssekajja, the Boda Boda Industry Uganda Administrator says authorities need to be tough on offenders.
“We need self-enforcement. But we also need strict enforcement for traffic rules from Police and KCCA. Motorists are not going to respect these traffic rules without enforcement. Many know the rules but they keep breaking them,” Ssekajja said.
He called on fellow boda boda riders to stop feeling sorry for traffic offenders who keep breaking the law.
“They are the reason our industry is abused. Why should you let them keep riding badly, knock people and they remain working?” Ssekajja said.
Ibrahim Kayondo, a bus operator, said government should allocate more money for sensitizing motorists.
“Even if you decorate the city with so many beautiful traffic signs but still have ignorant motorists, it will be a waste of time. Involve us and we train and sensitize people,” Kayondo said.
Mary Babirye, a boda Boda rider said the sensitizations should go beyond the boda boda riders, taxi operators and bus drivers but also cater for other motorists.