It is survival for the fittest among Nairobi pedestrians as motorists make crossing the busy city roads a nightmare.
Rayhab Njoroge, a newspaper vendor next to Bazaar Plaza on Nairobi’s Moi Avenue has witnessed many accidents on the zebra crossing nearby in the two years she has worked at the spot.
“I will blame both the pedestrians and motorists for the accidents that occur here. But the motorists are mostly at fault and always in a hurry. Mostly during the rush hour, they rarely slow down when approaching the zebra crossing,” said Rayhab.
During one of her early mornings at work, she witnessed an old white man crushed to death by a matatu at the scene.
“I’m sure he thought he had right of way only for a matatu to knock him down at the zebra crossing. The old man died on the spot because the Matatu was speeding,” added Rayhab
What compounds matters for Nairobi pedestrians is that even on designated spots like a zebra crossing, they are even more prone.
A spot check around the CBD just shows how drivers fail to adhere to traffic rules.
TOM MBOYA STREET
Besides the zebra crossings, other dangerous places to cross the road in Nairobi are along Moi Avenue and Tom Mboya Street, mostly where there are junctions.
At most of the zebra crossings in town visited by Nairobi News team, pedestrians were scampering to cross as most of the motorists did not give way.
Most of the drivers were speeding on nearing the zebra crossing and only slowed down when they noticed our cameras.
The most dangerous places to cross the road are the zebra crossing at the Bazaar Plaza, Khoja Roundabout, St Peters Claver’s Catholic Church, Githurai 45 Stage and OTC junction,
The junction on Ronald Ngala and Tom Mboya, Kenyatta Avenue and Moi Avenue, the Junction at Imenti house on Tom Mboya street, the Junction at the Commercial Near Tuskys Supermarket and the Junction at Interfina House on Tom Mboya Street.
A report by the World Health Organization says between 3,000 and 13,000 Kenyans lose their lives in road traffic crashes every year.
The majority of these people are vulnerable road users – pedestrians, motorcyclists, and cyclists.
Pedestrians remain the most vulnerable group of road users with 235 having died out of 683 people who have lost their lives on the road since the year began.
This is according to survey statistics results by the National Transport and Safety Authority of March 21, 2019.
In the absence of a strong culture of respect for traffic rules, road safety in the country has been left at the mercy of law enforcers who are sometimes relaxed.
In fact, so bad is the situation that city council askaris have to lay in wait a few meters away for motorists who do not slow down and give way at zebra crossing. But in most cases, the offending motorists often get away after parting with bribes.
Nairobi county traffic commander Joshua Omukata has told road users to avoid costly mistakes like exceeding stipulated speed limits, using undesignated spots to cross and driving or cycling while under the influence of alcohol.
“Let us all exercise caution, it is easy to fall victim in a split second because of carelessness. Motorists should drive at a reasonable speed, enabling one to control the car in case of a mishap or distraction while pedestrians must use walkways and zebra crossings or footbridges,” advised Omukata.
The Traffic Act says it is a mandatory requirement that every vehicle approaching pedestrian crossing place shall give way to any pedestrian crossing the area of carriageway indicated by the strips.
“In the case of a first conviction for such offence, to a fine not exceeding two thousand shillings or imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to both. In the case of a second or subsequent conviction for such offence, to a fine not exceeding five thousand shillings or imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year or to both,” adds the Act.
Pedestrians are also required to “as soon as reasonably practicable, give way to traffic on the carriageway” and face a fine of up to Sh500.