By Alfred Mosoti
Road transport is the most popular and important mode of transport, bearing in mind that over 80% of the total internal passenger and freight traffic in Kenya using wit the remainder using either rail, water and air.
As a matter of fact, road transport is an indispensable mode transport with comparative advantages over other modes of transport like; rail, sea and air. No passenger or goods can access a railway station, sea or airport before driven, ridden or walking there!
Nonetheless the merits cannot eclipse its multiple glaring limitations such as: Slowness over long distances, higher cost during transportation of heavy goods over long distances and greater susceptibility to accidents.
Never the less road construction and maintenance more so tarmacked ones is a very costly venture. The increment of traffic both vehicular and non-vehicular traffic has led to more deterioration of roads and increase of road carnage.
For instance with an exponential increase of PSVs generally referred to as referred to as matatus over last half a decade by over 200% ; from 16,687 to 53,692 in 2013 and 2017 respectively, has strained the road infrastructure system hence complicating road safety initiatives.
It is worth noting that, among vehicular related accidents, PSVs account for a substantial fraction, yet the unruly nature of most PSV crew has made it hard for authorities have had in trying to sanitize the industry by executing multiple road safety policies.
With the country’s annual average road fatality standing at 3000 death, which is higher than the cumulative figure from rail, air and water transport more needs to be done to reverse the trend.
Whereas occasionally the authorities have primarily been attributing road carnage to over speeding, drunk driving, drivers negligence and last but not least corruption; very little has been said about poor road designs and illegal road structures (illegal bumps).
Driving, cycling or walking along most Kenyan roads even new ones one cannot fail to observe glaring death traps. A number sharp bends, deep valleys and bridges lack guard rails and reflective coloration to ease visibility during at night. http://Also Read: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ytxStoBJFY
Bumps have no reflective coloration and are not presided by rumple strips as safety standard procedure dictate. Usually, bumps and/or and rumble strips are erected to regulate speed of motorized transport machines in high risk areas such as schools, hospitals and markets so as to reduce a likelihood of accidents.
Nevertheless, sometimes when such structures are absent or have been poorly or illegally erected hence becoming more of a road safety hazard and less of a road safety measure.
It is disgusting for road companies to be declared to have ‘completed’ their projects; and subsequently get approval then, the facility gets commissioned and used with such glaring oversights!
Driving or walking along many roads an appalling sight of vehicles’ tyre brake-marks and scratches over crests of bumps, an evidence of how car-bellies, with low ground clearance have periodically suffered from such bumps with shorter wavelengths but higher amplitudes!
On illegal bumps, whereas I am tempted to disparage and criminalize ‘these engineers’ for their ‘hooliganism’ and shoddy job, which negates all engineering tenets. I equally feel that they ought to be excused since their action simply represents social reaction to negligence of the original engineers!
We are living in a reactionary society where tragic events triggers both wananchi and government to action, nonetheless the latter seems to be faster than the former. This explains why bumps both legal and illegal often sprout after a tragic or a series of tragic accidents!
Therefore to avoid erection of illegal bumps, road constructors should erect the bumps in consultation with the local community. On poorly erected bumps they would adhere to nationally and internationally engineering standards with respect to erection of bumps.
Likewise, road inspection teams should not approve any road works without or with poorly designed bumps or any road safety enhancement facility. Failure to which illegally erected bumps- some of which are nothing but just heaps of boulders covered with soil will continue sprouting.
The writer is a practicing journalist and a freelancer as well contributor to CEO Africa content. firstname.lastname@example.org