Posts Tagged ‘Traffic collision’

[This post is very Nairobi-centric]

1 US$ is about 85 Kenya Shillings (85 bob)

2 km  is about 1.2 miles

The Government of Kenya decided to do something about road accidents in the country. It basically increased the penalties applicable for various traffic offences, and introduced some new regulations – renewal of license every 3(?) years after an eye test, among others.

Matatu (privately-run public transport vehicles) operators went on strike, protesting these changes, and many withdrew their vehicles from the road. There were some reports of violence. The time to leave work and go home arrived. I did not have our car, and I did not want to ask my wife to come pick me.

Nairobi matatu

Nairobi matatu (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I got out of the company car just after it emerged from Karuna Close and joined Waiyaki Way. I crossed Waiyaki Way, saw the walking crowd and joined them. This was 6:25 p.m. I actually jogged a little bit but settled for a brisk walk instead. I encountered a man selling boiled eggs (and sausages too, I think) and bought one egg. I walked on.

There were some matatus that were calling for passengers to Sodom for 30bob. I did not know where Sodom was and I did not want to ask (yes, I am a man), so I walked on.

I turned into Muthangari Drive, there were quite a number of us walking. I was sweating by this time.

I emerged on James Gichuru Road at 6:50 p.m. That’s about 2.6 km in 25 minutes.
It turned out that many of those walking with me turned right at some point, leaving James Gichuru Road. They were probably going to Kawangware. Soon there were very few people walking near me, but plenty of vehicular traffic.

7:11p.m. Lavington Green Shopping Centre. 5 km covered.
I paused to take a break and send some texts. Then onward Christian soldier!

7:40p.m. The Junction. 7.4 km walked.

I crossed the street and went to the bust stop.
A motorbike guy offered a ride to Karen for 100 bob. No thanks. The usual matatu fare is 30 bob.
A car stopped and someone said 100 bob to Karen. Some guys got in, Then the guy said 50 bob to Karen. I don’t know what cause the sudden price drop, but someone took the remaining seat. I wondered if the guys who had gotten in already would also pay 50 bob.

Then another vehicle came and said 50 bob to Karen, 100 to Rongai. I got in and sat at the front seat. I was pleased.

8:11p.m. Got off the vehicle at Karen roundabout.
I started the 2km walk home.
My right knee started paining somewhat. The road had very few pedestrians and little light, apart from that from passing vehicles. The bushes seemed more prominent in this darkness, than when I drive by during the day, but I was not scared.

Then I felt the first drops of rain! Oh dear. I started jogging, but that did not last long. Neither did the threat of a drizzle or a downpour.

8:33 Home

(Now you can figure out around where I live 🙂 )



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This post may meander a little bit.

About nine days ago as my wife and I drove to Church, we saw a car in the central reservation of the Mombasa Road. The car looked dirty in an unusual manner, not just as if it had not been washed for a while or had driven through mud. Then we saw a young lady lying on the ground near the car, her body laid straight. None of the people standing there seemed to be attending to her, so presumambly she was dead. Or maybe they were waiting for an ambulance or something. We figured the dirty car must have rolled.

Picture from morguefile.com

In the past two years or so, my wife and I have come across at least three accident scenes, in which there was a person lying on the ground, along Mombasa Road. It is disturbing to see a dead person in such a context. One of those times, there were what looked like tomatoes or some similar fruit lying near the body.

A miscalculation
An error of judgement
Panicked acceleration
A stupid mistake

The brakes screech
The car veers
The woman screams
The car hits

The body falls
Limp and lifeless
The car rolls
Heavy but helpless

It ends for the victim
Just like that
No reset, no reload
No rewind, no undo.

It is over.

The father did not come home with the food
The girl did not make it to Church
The woman did not visit as planned
The families will begin to search

On Saturday, some friends of ours, my wife and I were driving home from a retreat. Our friends needed to get home quickly to attend to their baby. We encountered one of those situations on the road where there are slow vehicles using two or three of the lanes. In this case there were two trucks. We got behind one, with the other on our left. I was driving. An idiotic driver suddenly veered from the right onto our lane, bumped us and went to the leftmost lane. He could easily have pushed us into the wheels of the truck that was on our left. Looking back on the incident, I think I remained surprisingly calm. My wife did not realise that the other driver had bumped us, so after hooting furiously at him, she said we need not stop. Later, when we assessed the damage, we found that it actually was minor. It was certainly minor compared to other scenarios that could have unfolded.

Thanks be to God for preserving us.

While on the subject of road accidents, which continue to kill many people in Kenya, I put the blame almost entirely on the police force. As much as drivers are urged to drive carefully and observe rules of the road, it is the work of the police to ensure that those who break the law are arrested and charged (and hopefully subsequently punished). The lives of people should not be left to the goodwill or risk-tolerance of drivers. Drivers should be made to know that if they break the rules, they will be punished. Drivers should fear breaking the law, even if they are not afraid of risking the lives and well being of others or their own lives. Policemen do not urge thieves and robbers to avoid stealing and killing. They arrest them and seek to have them punished. The same should apply on our roads. We need not urge killers to behave (as in the first link below). The law needs to strike and strike with force.

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