Upcountry Insight: The bicycle business

EASTERN PROVINCE RWAMAGANA—Many residents in Rwamagana are earning a living by bicycle riding. Though the business has been stopped in Kigali City, in Rwamagana town it is seen as one way of making a profitable living.

EASTERN PROVINCE

RWAMAGANA—Many residents in Rwamagana are earning a living by bicycle riding.
Though the business has been stopped in Kigali City, in Rwamagana town it is seen as one way of making a profitable living.

Bicycle transport is the commonest means of transport in many rural areas but with reference to Rwamagana, bicycles seem to outnumber passengers.

The president of one of the associations of bicycle riders in Rwamagana, Halidi Hitimana, confirms that the business in boosting people’s lives.

He says that many youths in the area have not succeeded in school and that that was one main reason why they resorted to bicycle riding as their occupation.

“My association-Twisungane is made up of 120 members. They all report to work in the morning. But they are so many to the extent that they outnumber the passengers willing to use bicycles as a means of transport,” Hitimana said.

In a group interview with members of Twisungane association of bicycle riders, The New Times got a different point of view. They blame government for neglecting them.

“We appeal to our government to help us develop,” Fidel Bigirimana, one of the group members said.

He proposed that the government set up a vocational school in Rwamagana to help them develop their skills.

He was supported by his colleague, Emmanuel Semana who said that there is need for a driving school in the area where they could acquire driving licences.

He revealed that his colleagues are ignorant of the traffic rules yet they spend a lot of time along the main routes riding and taking passengers.

According to Hitimana, bicycle association members formulate their own rules.

In case one of the members did not abide by the rules set, he gets a big punishment including expulsion from the association. One of the guidelines is to ride besides the main road. The other is to put on uniform.

But not all the guidelines are respected, according to Hitimana.

Association members are also requested to pay membership fee of Frw1500 and a weekly contribution of Frw100.  The money is put on the associations’ account and is used to help members in case of any problem. 

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