The "Uber" of motorcycles


Hundreds of Africans die in road-related accidents. In Rwanda, 80 per cent of accidents are caused by motorcycles. In an attempt to curb these deaths, one solution termed the “Uber” for motorcycles has been making tracks.

SafeMotos connects customers to safer motorcycle taxis across Africa; the smartphone application is influenced by Uber and allows passengers the option of a safer moto taxi driver. The cash incentive is what motivates the drivers to be more cautious.

“What we do for customers is really easy, you just use the application, you order a driver, he comes right to you, it’s on the driver’s side where things become interesting,” said Barret Nash, CEO and co-founder of SafeMotos.


He adds: “Our drivers are equipped with affordable smartphones and in those smartphones we have gyroscopes, accelerometers, GPS chips, so we can actually see how the driver drives.”

These chips measure the acceleration, deceleration and top speeds of a driver, there after a mathematical algorithm is used to take all the data, analyses it and provides an overall number which will become that drivers safety ranking.

“With our ability to see how our drivers drive, we see that actually they are far safer drivers when they are working with SafeMotos clients – our clients are saying that yes our drivers are better and they feel safer and because of the ability to change the behaviour of the drivers,”

SafeMotos doesn’t manage its drivers individually says Nash, it has a system that automatically ranks the drivers and connects customers to its safest drivers. At the moment it has 25 drivers, which it aims to double by the end of October.

“Right now we are the most downloaded ride sharing app for motorcycle taxis in the continent of Africa, we are just over a thousand downloads right now and in June we did 150 trips, in July 250 and August 500, coming at the end of September 714,” said Nash.

According to Nash, the motor industry in Africa is not something that is fully understood, but what it discovered is that in Kigali there are more than 22 000 motorcycle taxis, more than all the car taxis in New York City.”

SafeMotos looked at an analysis of seven different cities across the continent that use motorcycle taxis, like Lagos, Kampala and Kigali to name a few and saw the growth potential.

“It has a total available market of more than 300 million dollars a year using our business model,” said Nash.

One of the aims of SafeMotos is to also show that you can do a ‘Silicon Valley’ style start up in East Africa, starting Rwanda then spread across Africa.

“We are looking at being pro-business because if we are going to stay in business we have got to make a service that customers love and makes money, so what we are doing is absolutely giving customers delight.”