The reckless nature of motorbike riders

Taxi-moto riders wait for passengers. File photo

In this region, with the kind of traffic we have, there are times you just want to (or have to) park your car and jump onto a motorbike, as life endangering as it is. They come in very handy when you need to get to a place fast. I recently got involved in a motorbike (moto) accident.

Third time in my life, though I use them frequently. The first two times were less severe than this one, but even with this, I picked myself up, sat on the same moto and completed my trip. My knees got bruised and I slightly sprained my ankle but I’m all good.

Normally, I don’t just sit and get transported, whether I am in a car or on a moto. I am usually very attentive, and focus on what is ahead, behind and on the sides. As a result, I find myself telling the driver when to indicate, slow down or let another driver pass (a bit nagging I know but better safe than sorry).

I do the same with the motorbike riders, constantly telling the rider to be careful. There was a time I hit one on the back because he was riding recklessly. I am bringing this up because on the day of the recent accident I was not my usual self. Just like I never drive while texting or talking on the phone, I avoid that on the motorbike too.  Apart from that day. I was chatting on WhatsApp and only lifted my head the exact second we run into another motorbike.

This made me think of how many of us are constantly trying to do many things at the same time. Of course it is possible and it has been done before, but do you know how much better a task could be carried out if only we concentrated on one thing at a time? For instance, I was only going on a 7 or 10 minute trip so what was so hard with me sitting patiently, concentrating on the road and responding to the messages later? Not that accidents don’t happen to those that concentrate on the road, but all it takes is a second of being ‘absent’ and one ends up in the ward.

Across East Africa, many cities and towns have huge hospital wards dedicated to victims of motorbike accidents. The number of people losing lives or ending up with broken limbs has increased dramatically over the past few years. When one observes how the motorbikes are ridden, one realises that most of the accidents could have been avoided. The riders ride as if their bikes do not have breaks and as if everyone else on the road should make way for them.

If riders will not change on their own, as passengers, we must make them do so. It is our responsibility to ensure they respect traffic rules and ride at a speed that is easy to control in case of an emergency. The rider must be reminded that they are carrying a person and not a sack of potatoes.

A cab guy recently remarked that they ride as if they have not left anyone at home. Therefore, let us assume they haven’t but you the passenger have; tell him you want to get back home to your loved ones.                              

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@JackieLumbasi

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