Nairobi News

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Where death lies in wait

Pedestrians will continue to be killed unless the government does something to beat black spots around Nairobi.

On Tuesday, four people were killed at the Githurai roundabout, a few metres from the scene of an accident in July that claimed 10 lives.

What is striking is that traders continue to sell their wares at the same spot, oblivious of the danger. They claim they have nowhere else to go.

Henry Wanyoike, a bodaboda operator in the area says poverty is to blame for the state of affairs. “These people will continue doing business here. What other option do they have?” he asked.

Unfortunately, this is not the only place where danger looms. Everywhere in Nairobi, small-scale traders have encroached on roads, posing a constant threat to themselves, their clients and vehicles cruising by.

Outside Wakulima Market, fresh produce sellers, handcarts and pedestrians jostle for space on one half of Haile Sellasie Avenue.

On Landhies Road, metal workers’ workshops stretch up to the edge of the road. The scenario is replicated in Ngara and City Stadium on Jogoo Road. The same is the case at Kangemi.

More than 500 people have died on Nairobi roads this year alone, the majority being pedestrians.

Police statistics released this week indicate that pedestrians formed more than 70 per cent of the victims.

As many as 560 people have met their deaths on roads between January and October, with 447 being pedestrians.

Those attempting to cross Thika Superhighway and Jogoo Road have been particularly unlucky, according to the Traffic Police Department.

A policeman at Muthaiga Station last week told NairobiNews that as many as 30 people had died at one spot on Thika Road since the superhighway was opened in spite of the presence of a pedestrian footbridge less than 100 metres away.

“You only need to hear a screech followed by a thud to know that someone else is dead. Some don’t want to use the footbridge while many others are drunk,” he said.

Nairobi Traffic Commandant Edward Mwamburi on Thusrday said motorists were allowed to do speeds of up to 110kph on some parts of the highway, making it hard to slow or stop when someone suddenly crosses.

People who cross a road at non-designated areas could be charged with attempted suicide.