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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 17  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 38-45

Risk behaviors for road traffic crashes among commercial motorcyclists in a semi-urban area of Ogun State, Nigeria

1 Department of Community Medicine and Primary Care, Olabisi Onabanjo University Teaching Hospital, Sagamu, Ogun State, Nigeria
2 Department of Community Health and Primary Care, College of Medicine, University of Lagos, Idi-Araba, Lagos, Nigeria
3 Department of Community Health and Primary Care, Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi-Araba, Lagos, Nigeria

Date of Submission18-Feb-2019
Date of Acceptance14-Apr-2020
Date of Web Publication14-May-2020

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Kolawole John Sodeinde
Department of Community Medicine and Primary Care, Olabisi Onabanjo University Teaching Hospital, PMB 2001, Sagamu, Ogun State
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jcls.jcls_15_19

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Background: Over the past three decades, there has been an increase in the use of motorcycles as a means of transportation in Nigeria. Motorcycle-related crashes have also been on the rise, with human error accounting for up to 90% of traffic accidents in Nigeria. This study aimed to identify risky behaviors for road traffic crashes among commercial motorcyclists in Ikenne local government of Ogun State, Nigeria. Methods: This descriptive cross-sectional study was carried out among 400 commercial motorcyclists selected using multistage sampling method. A semi-structured, interviewer-administered questionnaire was used to elicit data about respondents' awareness of certain risky behaviors as causes of motorcycle crashes and their attitude toward and practice of such risky behaviors. Data were analyzed using SPSS version 16 and presented as chart and tables. Results: The mean age of the respondents was 33.7 ± 9.5 years. Only few (4.0%) had tertiary education. All of them were males. Awareness of risky behaviors was good with an average of 85.9%. Attitude to causes of accidents was also good, with 90.4% of the respondents having good attitude. However, most (95.5%) of the respondents demonstrated accident-related risky behavior(s). Risk behavior was statistically associated with younger age (P < 0.001), lower levels of education (P < 0.01), and training before commencement of trade (P < 0.05). Conclusion: Despite good awareness and attitude, most respondents demonstrated one risky behavior or the other. Younger age and poor educational status were statistically associated with risky behaviors. There is need for strict enforcement of traffic codes to ensure compliance.

Keywords: Crashes, Ikenne, motorcycle, risky behavior

How to cite this article:
Sodeinde KJ, Odukoya OO, Charles-Eromosele TO, Olufunlayo TF. Risk behaviors for road traffic crashes among commercial motorcyclists in a semi-urban area of Ogun State, Nigeria. J Clin Sci 2020;17:38-45

How to cite this URL:
Sodeinde KJ, Odukoya OO, Charles-Eromosele TO, Olufunlayo TF. Risk behaviors for road traffic crashes among commercial motorcyclists in a semi-urban area of Ogun State, Nigeria. J Clin Sci [serial online] 2020 [cited 2023 Jun 2];17:38-45. Available from: https://www.jcsjournal.org/text.asp?2020/17/2/38/284272

  Introduction Top

More than 20 million people are severely injured or killed globally through road accidents yearly with the highest burden in low- and middle-income countries where bicycles and motorcycles are used as means of transportation.[1] Even in developed countries, motorcycle riding is associated with negative health outcomes. In 2008, 96,000 injuries of varied severity were attributed to motorcycle crashes in the United States with 14,283 deaths from 2008 to 2010, out of which 4502 deaths were recorded in 2010 alone, accounting for 14% of all road traffic deaths in that year.[2] In Nigeria, motorcycle crashes are the second most common cause of road traffic injuries,[3] with human factors considered as the most potent contributor.[4]

In Nigeria, before 1980, motorcycles (i.e., two- or three -wheeled motor vehicles)[5] were basically used for private purposes such as domestic errands such as fetching water and firewood as well as for conveying agricultural produce from the farm or to the market.[6] However, there has been an increase in the use of motorcycles, mostly because it presents an easy source of employment predominantly in those climes with high levels of unemployment as is the case in many low- and middle-income countries like Nigeria.[7] Some of the reasons for the increasing use of motorcycles in public transportation include the fact that they are less expensive to run, easier to park, more flexible in traffic, and less regulated (in terms of licensing, enforcement, and insurance) when compared to other means of transportation.[8]

Recently, commercial motorcycles are becoming infamous because of the high rate of accidents associated with the trade.[9] Commercial motorcyclists may exhibit high-risk behaviors which predispose them, their passengers, and other road users to road accidents. Several studies have shown that motorcyclists' awareness of risky behavior influences their involvement in such behaviors.[10],[11],[12] In other studies, poor attitude of commercial motorcyclists toward risky behaviors has been shown to cause road traffic crashes or cause severe injuries.[13-15] For instance, some riders believe that alcohol intake could not cause road traffic crashes.[16] In a study on the use of crash helmets, the respondents had the notion that use of crash helmets increases rather than decreases the risk of an injury by reducing field of vision or creating discomfort.[14] Perhaps, this may be the reason why use of helmets has mostly been attributed to avoidance of police arrest[12] or other forms of strict law enforcement[17] rather than prevention of severe head injuries during motorcycle crashes. This poor attitude of commercial motorcyclists has been shown to contribute to the occurrence of road traffic crashes.[15]

This study was carried out to assess risky behavior which may contribute to the occurrence of road traffic crashes among commercial motorcyclists, the awareness of what constitutes these risky behaviors and their attitude toward and factors responsible for the risky behaviors.

  Methods Top

Study area, study design and population, sample size estimation

This cross-sectional descriptive study was carried out in Ikenne local government in the east senatorial district of Ogun State, about 55 km south of Lagos, the commercial capital of Nigeria. The population of the local government is 202,980. The indigenes of the local government are mainly of the Remo stock of the Yoruba ethnic group.[18]

Ikenne local government is a semi-urban area having characteristics of both urban and rural settlements. There are three health posts, two health clinics, five primary health-care centers, twelve private hospitals, three public secondary health facilities, and one private tertiary health facility. The major occupations are trading and farming.[18]

In Ikenne, there are two bodies responsible for registering motorcyclists. They are the Amalgamated Commercial Motorcycle Owners and Riders Association of Nigeria and Accredited Motorcycle Owners and Riders Association of Nigeria. Participants included in the study were motorcyclists who should be registered with either of the two bodies and must have been operating for at least 6 months.

The minimum sample size was determined using the standard formula for the determination of sample size for descriptive studies (Z2pq/d2).[19] A standard normal deviate of 1.96, 95% confidence interval, and a prevalence of 62.7% representing commercial motorcyclists who were taking alcohol during working hours in a related Nigerian study[20] were inputed into the formula to give a minimum sample size of 359.4. Correcting for a possible nonresponse rate of 10%, the final calculation was 399.3. Hence, a total of 400 motorcyclists were interviewed.

Sampling method, data collection tools and techniques, study measures

A multistage probability sampling was used to select participants. The local government had about 1200 registered motorcyclists who were operating in four divisions. “Division 1” had three motorcycle parks with about 200 registered motorcyclists, “Division 2” had 16 motorcycle parks with over 400 registered motorcyclists, “Division 3” had four motorcycle parks with about 200 registered motorcyclists, while “Division 4” had four motorcycle parks with about 400 registered motorcyclists.

The first stage was to select the motorcycle parks using simple random sampling. Four parks were selected from “Division 2,” which had the highest number of motorcycle parks, while two parks each were selected from Divisions “1,” “3,” and “4,” making a total of ten parks. The next stage was to select and interview the first forty motorcyclists that gave their consent in each of the selected parks. A total of 400 registered motorcyclists were therefore interviewed.

Data were collected using a semi-structured, interviewer -administered questionnaire. The questionnaire sought information on the respondents' sociodemographic data, motorcyclists' experience, motorcyclists' awareness of risky behaviors for road traffic crashes, attitudes of respondents toward risky behaviors for road traffic crashes, and practice of risky behavior among commercial motorcyclists.

Motorcyclists' awareness of risky behaviors was assessed by asking if motorcyclists knew certain risky behaviors as causes of accidents. The average percentage of those who picked the option “Yes” was calculated. The average awareness of over 50% was considered good and below 50% as poor.

Motorcyclists' attitude to certain causes of accidents was assessed by providing the options '“strongly disagree,” “disagree,” “undecided,” “agree,” and “strongly agree.” The average of the sum of those who opted for “agree” and “strongly agree” was calculated. An overall average attitude of at least 50% was considered good and below 50% as poor.

Risk behavior was classified as “no risk,” “low risk,” “high risk,” and “very high risk.” Risk was assessed by scoring the extent to which the motorcyclists practiced healthy behaviors or complied with safety practices. Scores were as follows: 1 = always, 2 = frequently (more than 50% of the time), 3 = occasionally (<50% of the time), and 4 = never. The minimum possible score was 18 as there were 18 risky behaviors assessed, and the maximum possible score was 72 as the highest score per risky behavior was 4. The scores were then graded as follows: no risky behavior (18), low-risk behavior (19–36), high-risk behavior (37–54), and very high-risk behavior (55–72).

Data analysis

Data were cleaned and analyzed using SPSS version 16 (IBM, Chicago, USA) and presented as charts and tables. Chi-square was used to test for statistically significant associations between categorical variables, and the level of significance was set at 0.05.

Ethical considerations

Ethical approval for this study was obtained from the Health Research and Ethics Committee (ADM/DCST/HREC/APP/2215) of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Lagos, Nigeria. Permission to conduct the study was obtained from the Chairman and the Medical Officer of Health of Ikenne local government and from the executive committee of the two associations of commercial motorcyclists in the local government. Verbal Informed consent was obtained from the respondents after details about the study had been explained to them, and strict confidentiality of all information obtained from respondents was maintained throughout the course of the study.

  Results Top

A total of 400 motorcyclists participated in the study. The response rate was 100%.

[Table 1] shows the sociodemographic characteristics of the respondents. All the respondents were males, and many (44.5%) were within the age group of 21–30 years. Most of them, i.e., 277 (69.2%), were married, while 98 (24.5%) were single. About half (53%) of the respondents had secondary education as the highest academic attainment, 140 (35%) had primary education, and only 16 (4%) had tertiary education. Thirty-two (8%) respondents had no form of formal education. Majority of the respondents were of the Yoruba tribe (86.8%) and Christians (66.8%).
Table 1: Sociodemographic characteristics of the respondents (n=400)

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Concerning motorcycle riding experience, [Table 2] shows that the mean years of riding a motorcycle was 7.1 ± 5.4 years. Most (82.0%) of the motorcyclists had been riding motorcycles for 10 years or less. Only 12 (3.0%) respondents had over 20 years of riding experience. In terms of training, majority (68.2%) of the interviewed motorcyclists received some form of training before the commencement of the trade, while about one-third (31.8%) received no training. Most (67.03%) of those who were trained did so within 4 weeks and 74.4% of them began to ride motorcycle immediately after training. However, few (4.3%) stayed for over 12 months after training before they started riding motorcycle. Majority (61.8%) of the respondents have been involved in a motorcycle accident one time or the other. Of the 247 riders who had previously been involved in a crash, 176 (71.3%) got themselves or their passengers, or both, injured in the last road traffic crash.
Table 2: Motorcycle riding experience

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In relation to the awareness of risky behavior for motorcycle crashes, [Table 3] shows that wrong maneuvering (98.8%) was the most known risky behavior for road transport crashes among the respondents. It was closely followed by overspeeding and competing with other motorists, both known by 96.2% of the respondents. Three hundred and fifty-five (88.8%) respondents were aware that riding under the influence of alcohol could cause road crashes. Respondents in this study were least aware of carrying more than one passenger as a risky behavior (45.2%). The average awareness of risky behaviors was 85.9%.
Table 3: Awareness of risk factors (n=400)

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As regards the attitude of respondents to various causes of motorcycle crashes, [Table 4] shows that the highest number of respondents (76.5%) strongly agreed with overspeeding as a cause of motorcycle accidents. On the other hand, only 36% of the respondents strongly agreed that riding against traffic was a cause of motorcycle crashes, while much fewer respondents (10.8%) disagreed and 8.0% were undecided that overloading was a cause of road crashes. On an average, 90.4% of the respondents have good attitude toward safety practices.
Table 4: Motorcyclists' attitude to causes of crashes (n=400)

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In relation to various behaviors that can prevent road traffic crashes, [Table 5] shows that the most practiced safety behavior was giving signal of turning intention early, as 86.0% of the respondents always indicated before turning. On the other hand, the safety behavior practiced least by the respondents was the wearing of reflective apparel, as 40% of the respondents indicated that they never wore bright clothes while riding at night. [Figure 1] shows that 73.5% of the respondents had low-risk behavior (scores between 19 and 36), while 22% had high-risk behavior (scores between 37 and 54). This means a great majority of the respondents (95.5%) demonstrated one risky behavior or the other, while only 4.5% showed no risky behavior. None of the respondents had very high-risk behavior as no one scored above 54.
Table 5: Safety behavior among motorcyclists (n=400)

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Figure 1: Level of risky behavior among commercial motorcyclists

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[Table 6] shows that risky behavior is statistically significantly associated with the age of respondents (P < 0.001). Younger riders were shown to have more risky behaviors (or higher risky behavior scores). There was also a statistically significant association between risky behavior and level of education (P = 0.007); respondents with higher level of education showed low-risk behavior. Risky behavior was also found to be statistically significantly associated with training on how to ride a motorcycle prior to riding commercially (P = 0.003); risky behavior was higher in those who received training. There was also statistically significant association between risky behavior and duration (years) of riding a motorcycle (P = 0.002). Riders with more years of experience have less risky behaviors.
Table 6: Factors associated with risky behaviors

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  Discussion Top

This study highlights the risky behaviors for road traffic crashes among commercial motorcyclists in Ikenne local government, Ogun State, Nigeria. Awareness was generally good in this study with an average of 85.9%. For instance, as much as 88.8% of the respondents had the awareness that riding under the influence of alcohol could cause road crashes. This level of awareness was much better than what was discovered in another study in Ibadan, South-West Nigeria, where only 57.5% of the respondents answered in the affirmative that alcohol could cause accidents.[10] However, despite the good awareness in this study, motorcyclists' awareness of some certain pertinent factors that could cause road traffic crashes was still poor, and this may be responsible for the high level of risky behavior reported. For instance, only 45.2% of the respondents were aware that carrying more than one passenger was a risky behavior. This may explain why just 16.2% of the respondents always carry only one passenger per trip.

In the same vein, although motorcyclists were found to have good attitude toward risky behaviors with an average of 90.4%, many of them still showed poor attitude to some causes of road traffic crashes. For instance, about one-third of the riders did not agree that anxiety for income generation was a risk factor for motorcycle crashes. This showed that quite a number of the motorcyclists were so concerned about income generation to have ignored some risky behaviors that could be practiced in the bid to make money. The overall good attitude in this study did not concur with the findings in a related study in northern part of Nigeria where as much as 95.2% of commercial motorcyclists were found to have poor attitude to the use of safety protective devices.[13] Nevertheless, it is instructive to note that good awareness and attitude of respondents in this study did not translate into safety practice; as many as 95.5% of the respondents demonstrated one form of risky behavior or the other.

With respect to academic qualification of the respondents, the study found that many of them (53%) had secondary school as highest level of education, 35% had primary school, and 8% had no formal education. This pattern of formal educational attainment was similar to those obtained in many other studies on commercial motorcyclists in Nigeria.[20],[21] The likely implication of this is that many of the respondents may not be able to fully understand or interpret traffic safety regulations. This may explain the reasons for some of the risky behaviors seen in them. Motorcycle riders who were less educated were statistically significantly more involved in risky behaviors (P = 0.007) as documented in other studies, which also revealed that risky behaviors are more common in riders with lower education.[22],[23] This shows the need for safety education to be infused into our school curriculum from the primary (basic) level so as to promote a safety culture in our environment.

A previous study found that in South-West Nigeria, about half (49.1%) of the commercial motorcyclists had trainings on riding a motorcycle in informal settings where motorcyclists taught intended members on how to ride without any form of regulation.[17] The possible implication of this is that training may not have any significant impact on the learners as regards practice of healthy behaviors and compliance with traffic regulations. Instead, risky behaviors may have been passed across to them from their trainers. This may explain why those who were trained in this study had a statistically significantly higher risky behavior (P = 0.003) than their counterparts who received no training before commencement of the trade.

Majority (85.3%) of the respondents were riding for at least 6 days in a week with a mean of 6.2 ± 0.96 days. This implies that the motorcyclists work with little or no time for rest, leisure, or time to relate with friends or family. The implication of this is that there may be a high tendency to ride while tired or sick. As shown in [Table 5], 40.2% of the respondents were still riding while feeling tired and 4.5% actually ignored their tiredness every time to ride a motorcycle. Moreover, poor family ties may increase the engagement in risky behaviors as riders may not have access to counsel or may have less sense of responsibility. Studies have shown that marital status and family relationship are related to engagement in risky behavior.[24]

Duration of riding experience was discovered to have a statistically significant association with risky behavior (P = 0.02). Motorcyclists with more years of riding experience showed less risky behavior. Those with more years of experience were probably older. In the same vein, this study revealed that younger riders showed more risky behaviors, with the relationship having a statistically significant association with P < 0.001. This shows that younger motorcyclists may have less sense of responsibility and are probably more nonchalant in their attitude and behavior. It could also be because younger people are more adventurous. Studies have shown that morbidity is more common among younger riders,[23],[24],[25] and this may be due to higher levels of risk-taking behaviors among them.

Although alcohol use has been associated with motorcycle accidents and fatal injuries,[13],[26],[27] a quarter of respondents in this study were taking alcohol during working hours [Table 5]. This explained some risky behaviors seen in the riders as alcohol had been linked with multiple risky behaviors in motorcyclists.[16] This finding was, however, lower than that what was seen in a similar study conducted among commercial motorcyclists in South-West Nigeria where it was found that as many as 62.7% admitted to taking beers, local gin, or palm wine during working hours.[19] Another study recorded a total of 49.3% of respondents taking alcohol.[16]

An important limitation of this study was lack of qualitative exploration of pattern of risky behaviors among motorcyclists and factors responsible for such behaviors, which could have given more detailed information. The period of this study (November 2014 to January 2015) corresponded to the time of preparation for a new political era in the country and a time of restrictions on the activities of commercial motorcyclists in the neighboring Lagos State and other parts of the country. Some of the motorcyclists might have been skeptical that there may be a political undertone attached to the study in finding out good reasons to ban or restrict the activities of motorcycle operators by the emerging government in the following year. Therefore, some of the respondents might have provided some wrong information which portrayed them as having good awareness, attitude, and healthy practices as regards motorcycle riding. This, however, could not be verified by the researcher with the method of data collection.

Respondents in this study were selected from all the four motorcycle park divisions in the local government. This gives a more representative sample as opposed to selecting only from one part of the local government. Future research directions for this study may include predictors of road traffic crashes among commercial motorcyclists, pattern of injuries during road traffic crashes among commercial motorcyclists, and socioeconomic implications of road traffic crashes among commercial motorcyclists in Ikenne Local Government, Ogun State, Nigeria.

  Conclusion And Recommendations Top

The commercial motorcyclists in Ikenne local government have good awareness of risky behaviors for road transport crashes. They also have good attitude toward these factors. However, these did not translate into action as majority of them had one risky behavior or the other. Risky behavior was associated with younger age, lower level of education, and prior training which is usually done in informal setting in this part of the country. Interventions to promote behavioral change should be embarked upon by government and private organizations to improve safety practices among motorcyclists; strict enforcement of traffic codes is recommended to ensure compliance by riders. A minimum level of formal education may also be stipulated for riders with adequate training institutions set up so as to enhance riders' chances of better understanding of traffic codes. Furthermore, there should be standardization of the training riders receive before engaging in commercial riding so as to deliver a minimum package of training to all riders regardless of their level of educational attainment.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

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  [Figure 1]

  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4], [Table 5], [Table 6]


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