LAGOS, Nigeria—This megacity's motorcycle taxis are so dangerous that local hospitals have special orthopedic wards meant just for people who have suffered accidents while riding them. So you'd think a law requiring passengers to wear helmets would be well received.
But it turns out that, for many Nigerians, the only thing scarier than a motorcycle taxi is a motorcycle helmet. Many people refuse to wear them out of fear of juju, or supernatural powers. Some fret that previous passengers may have put nefarious juju spells on the helmets to steal someone's good fortune, or to make a person disappear in order to be used in a sacred ritual, say motorcycle taxi drivers and passengers.
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