Traffic lights and stop signs in Kigali: dangers and inconveniences

Rwanda has of recent constructed some of the most outstanding road networks in the country’s history. This has greatly improved people’s lifestyle, mobility and business.

Rwanda has of recent constructed some of the most outstanding road networks in the country’s history. This has greatly improved people’s lifestyle, mobility and business.

Driving from Kigali to Kanyaru (towards Burundi) or to Kagitumba (on Uganda- Rwanda border) takes a very short time. And it does not only take very short time but is also very comfortable.

Kigali streets are equally good and clean with no big problem of human traffic as hawkers were re-directed to existing markets in town.

Nonetheless, ‘Kigalians’ and other visitors still do not enjoy maximum road safety and convenience. Pedestrians and passengers are the most affected people as they are exposed to all sorts of road maneuvers every day.

A number of factors therefore, are responsible for this unnecessary problem. I have witnessed with great concern, the way the ignorance of pedestrians puts them at great risk when they are crossing roads at the point of traffic lights.

They do not know how to observe and use the traffic lights. They are ‘colour blind’ at that point, and to them, the green, yellow and red colours are all the same.

However, we are responsible for their safety, and the authorities directly concerned should take this as a serious social safety issue.

People should be taught using radios, televisions, newspapers, etc, how to behave when they are using traffic lights.
In fact, I remember a scenario among many others, when a woman was knocked down by a taxi in which I was travelling at the traffic lights point. We were all left tight lipped as we did not see anybody to blame for the accident.

It was not the driver’s fault as the lights showed green for vehicles to continue; we could not blame the victim as she only used instinct to cross the road, and neither could we blame the policeman who stood puzzled, without really knowing who to accuse for the accident.

What I am saying is just a small piece of what is happening at different traffic lights points, especially when our friends and relatives come to visit Kigali from upcountry. These are people who do not know any thing to do with traffic lights. They only stand at stop signs with their eyes open for hours, until they decide to take a risk of crossing while running.

Let us therefore use all avenues at our disposal to educate all Rwandans on how to exploit the long-term technology of robots. In this way we shall be addressing the issue of road safety for all.

There is also a problem of convenience on our beautiful roads. Our roads actually contribute a lot to the beauty of Kigali particularly. The distance between bus-stops is so long that in some cases people walk long distances going forward or backward towards their home places.

The German company (Strabag) constructed good and smooth roads, but never cared a lot about bus stops, and no wonder in some areas, they went back to revise their mistakes. In fact I fail to understand why most contractors do not seem to give bus stops the importance they deserve.

And if you doubt what I am saying about bus stops and their convenience while moving from one point to another, visit the Giporoso-Rubirizi road, which is in its last stages of completion.

The whole stretch of road is about to be completed and the constructors never catered for bus stop areas. It is just a free flat stretch that does not provide spaces for buses to stop as passengers’ board and disembark.

One wonders if they are going to put bus stop signs on the road or not. I do not think the concerned should allow the road (popularly known as Kabeza road) to be left the way it is today, because it will create big inconveniences for drivers and passengers in their day to day businesses.

There is a big market there; how does anyone expect shoppers and farmers to conduct business without a convenient stopping place?

As we move faster in our development processes, our house plans, traffic lights and stop signs are needed a whole lot.

People in our country need to be safer and the reduction of accidents will be taken down to very little levels if at all, if we fail to cater for all this, and fail to teach the people all road safety rules.


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