The Motorcycles Downside

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You can call me a law abiding citizen. I check the road left, right then left again before crossing the road. Pedestrian crossing or otherwise. I read the red, green and orange lights wherever present.

I am the type to wait for a thousand cars to pass before looking out for a decent personal car that will allow me cross safely to the other side. Don’t I deserve a Head of State Commendation for my actions?

One Friday, with all my law-righteousness, I was using the pavements (where only pedestrians should be) along University Way then a motorcycle breezes past me. Then another. And another.

I lost count the number of times they passed me, no, missed me by a slight inch. Had I not been the self-loving individual I am and squeezed myself to ‘excuse’ them, I would be no more or missing a limb.

Convenience. They are always evading traffic one way or the other. Best way to beat the jam which we all hate.

The “nduthi” guy insists that I should pay the Ksh 70 we had agreed on. I am trying to make him take 50 because I hadn’t reached our agreed destination. I had to pass by some few shops to get myself supper.

Hapana!

I am not one to budge quickly, so there I am, standing my ground (pun intended). The place we have stopped is a base for these many “nduthi” entrepreneurs or employees.

He starts explaining the situation to his kind and I know, I would rather get that 20 shillings off my head as when these guys converge, they will have no problem getting it for themselves. Rowdy.

I once asked one of them to transport me from the National Archives to Tuskys Pioneer. The guy shamefully told me it is 100 bob. I had covered greater distances at half that price. I used my feet.

Ripping off. These guys can charge you a clean K from Koja to Ngara. They know not of mercy.

Imagine getting from work late at night and your home is not in the safest of neighbourhoods. As a safety measure, you employ the services of a motorist bracing the cold.

Throughout the bumpy ride you are visualising yourself finishing up on that report and checking social media to see what was going on as you toiled and moiled. Not to be so.

He drops you off a safe distance. It is dark but you can see the gate to your haven. In two minutes or less, you have been swept off your laptop and phone. They left you the shoes and the keys.

Your transporter is long gone. Your robbers must be the young and hungry, you convince yourself. You forget to remember the phone call he was on immediately you described your destination.

Perpetrators of crime.

In the newspaper a few weeks back, I read that one “nduthi” guy had been brought to book. He had knocked down and killed a lady who was crossing the road then attempted to run.

His fellows efforts to escape him from the angry mob bore no fruits. They held him down and ensured they handed him to the police. He would pay for the murder.

That is only a single case, many more people have died, been fatally injured and the people responsible are sheltering in these shades provided by county representatives.

There are several rape cases. Many lead lonely aftermaths having not received the justice they deserve. The cases drag on for years and this is continuous trauma to the victim who is made to witness their harasser time and again.

The eventuality is dooming as after all the sessions, they might be found innocent of the crime. Lack of sufficient evidence.

A few years back, the only motorbikes you would see were of the G4S officers or the pizza delivery ones. Before that, we associated bike riding with leather clothing as we saw in movies.

As the locusts came, so did the flooding of motorcycle owners. Entrepreneurship pointed everyone to one side. There is a school that rewards their best KCSE candidates with this vehicle. A community was born.

You would see many lined up in the CBD these days. You cannot miss one whenever you are. If you are that kind of person, your contact book has a Msee wa Nduthi who dial during emergencies. The trusted one.

You can count on these business persons on the hours of the day as well as those of the night. Sleep is a foreign term to most of them. Some even co-partner with their spouses to keep the enterprise running.

I can say for sure that one of them saved my life when I was bleeding to death. He rushed me to hospital all the while instructing me on ways to lessen the bleeding. I am forever grateful.

Some of these individuals are in this business for the genuine fact of supporting their families. They understand that they are the boss of the business but will treat their customers with respect.

They don’t look at you suggestively because you are a woman with all manner of remarks. They hold relevant conversations on your ride to whatever the destination.

Most importantly, they have an extra helmet for You. They know You are their responsibility and they want to ensure they drop you off as they found you. On rainy days, they have “umbrellas”. They value service.

Let us not focus too much on their goodness and forget the evil. Why, for instance, do these motorists think they are not viable to traffic rules? Is there any training on rules they go through before hitting the road?

There is need for reorganization of the transport system to fit them in. A set of regulations to guide them. As they build the economy, they should be doing so on designated paths. Not by overcrowding pedestrians space.

The provision of reflector jackets was a good measure. More needs to be done. We need them and they need us. Coexisting in order.

Nazi mbovu harabu ya nzima.

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About Rehema Zuberi

Teller of 'taboo-d' tales.

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