We had in an earlier
article talked about the behaviour of matatus as the one at the
top of the list.
The second one on
the list was broken down vehicles that were improperly marked.
The law is very
clear on what is required to be done in case a vehicle breaks
down. One has to put retroreflective warning triangles before
and after the vehicle.
They should be
placed some thirty metres before and after the vehicle when on a
Use of hazard
flashing lights is also recommended as a way of warning other
drivers especially at night or in murky weather.
It gets a bit
complicated when a car breaks down on a downhill or uphill
section of road.
If a vehicle breaks
down on a down-hill section of road then the distance needs to
be increased to at least sixty metres BEFORE the broken down
vehicle as cars are likely to be travelling faster.
It would also be
prudent to place both triangles before the vehicle with the
other one at about a hundred metres before.
If a vehicle breaks
down over the brow of a hill then the warning triangles are best
placed some fifty metres before the brow then just over the brow
and at least thirty metres before the broke down vehicle.
The reality is that
many drivers in Kenya do not place their warning triangles
properly either through ignorance or through fear that they may
acceptable as not having the triangles laid out as required
could very easily result in accidents and more likely fatal
My biggest beef
however is with the drivers who put out vegetation – and then
forget to remove them once the vehicle is ready to move.
costs nothing, drivers tend to just drive away and the result is
that drivers approaching the location where the vehicles had
been would slow down suddenly because they were not sure of what
to look out for and this could result in shunts and accidents.
The third on the
list was a mainly urban or built up area issue.
That is the bullying
of motorists by pedestrians.
The populace in
urban centres us increasing so the pressure on roads is also
Most of our roads do
not have pedestrian infrastructure and if they exist most are
not fit for purpose.
The flip side is
also a problem.
Most pedestrians do
not know what is expected of them when they use the road.
In the early days,
school children were taught how to cross roads and also where to
They were also
taught about their responsi-bilities (and rights) as road users.
They thus grew up
knowing to cross at zebra crossings or light controlled areas
especially in urban areas.
Where such luxuries
did not exist, they knew the rote of crossing the road – look
right, look left and then look right again; if there is no
vehicle approaching then cross the road but keep looking to
ensure that one is still safe.
A lot of pedestrians
these days only look one way and then start crossing and when
they get to the centre of the road then they look the other way
to check whether there are vehicles coming.
They are already in
the middle of the road and at the mercy of drivers.
put their lives in danger and just add to the complication of
It is necessary to
reintroduce road safety as a compulsory subject in the first
three years of primary school so that children are able to
understand their responsibility with respect to road crossing
and start to develop the right habits as pedestrians.
We should also be
bullish and create adult education classes for those who never
had or will not have the opportunity of learning road safety in
This would result in
a large percentage of the population knowing what to do and they
can also act as deterrents to the few who would then be the
danger by not having been educated in road safety.
The fourth on the
list is animals on the road – cats, dogs, cows, donkeys, camels,
goats and sheep.
This list covers the
majority of the domesticated animal population.
There are other
variants but this by and large covers what we get into close
proximity with as road users.
The biggest beef
most of my friends had with animals is those that one comes
across in urban areas.
The bylaws in all
towns in Kenya prohibit the keeping of any kind of animal – pet
or any domesticated – without a valid license.
The conditions of
the license are such that anyone allowing the licensed animal to
misbehave or become a public nuisance is liable to punishment of
one kind or another.
Mostly it is fines
but persistent offenders could have their animals confiscated.
Serial offenders could face time in jail as well.
The problem we face
currently in Kenya and is what contributed to such a high rating
for this issue on the list is that there is very little
enforcement of the requirement.
Most of the people I
have spoken to who own pets know of the requirement but simply
ignore compliance as they quite rightly say that no one has ever
been prosecuted or fined under these provisions for at least the
last twenty years.
If there has been
any punitive action taken, then it has been because of an irate
A lot of us do not
even bother to complain because the enforcement agency employees
are likely to laugh at the complainant.
It is also not clear
how to lodge a complaint about the rural livestock that now
comes to town regularly whether it is the dry season or not (and
the reason they do is a story of another day).
As it stands, for
drivers, anarchy has been let loose on the roads and no one
seems to care about the consequences of such behaviour.
need to take action in the New Year.
By simply posting
regularly (let us try daily!) on the pages of the bosses of the
relevant organisations, we could start a good groundswell to
pressure for action against transgression of our road sanity.
So please post your
beefs daily to the social media pages of the Inspector General
of Police, the National Transport Safety Authority, The Cabinet
Secretary for Transport and Infrastructure, the Cabinet
Secretary for Interior, the Cabinet Secretary for Education, the
various Roads Authorities and all the County Governors.
We should also not
forget the various oversight bodies that are supposed to check
the operations of those mentioned above such as the Ombudsman.
Happy New Year to
all our readers and please let us know what your resolutions as
road users are!
As Kachumbari says,
if there are enough angry posts then we will definitely see some
positive movement towards enforcement of compliance to the law.