(You should try this while in Kigali city)
Like in New Delhi (India) and Kampala (Uganda) Motorbike transport is one of the common modes of transport in Kigali –the capital city of the Republic of Rwanda. This mode of transport is used by many residents and the most convenient and quick to use in the seemingly growing city of over millions people.
Anyone who moves around in Kigali City knows what traffic jams means for people heading to and from work, especially in the morning and evening hours. One’s time and business appointment can be saved by jumping on a motorbike in order to reach their destinations on time.
‘’With no motor bikes in Kigali , ordinary workers, especially in the private sector would suffer , I have my own car but when it clocks 7am and am still at home I just leave my car at home to take a motorbike to my office due to the fear of traffic jams,’’ said one businessman in Kigali, Francis Kanamugire.
The numbers of motorbike transporters has steadily increased and they are two types of motorbikes commonly used: the 125cc TVS –Victor, VTi and Velo-motor (XL super heavy duty) -all Indian models. The 125cc is most preferable if you are to take a ride around the city, while the latter is only allowed to operate in the outskirts of Kigali.
This increase has however attacked many young and jobless men to join the industry and at in a few cases, the issue of insecurity caused by these transporters has raised concerns for both police and Kigali city council.
In the year 2006, at the time of Aisha Kirabo as the former mayor of Kigali, the decision to ban motorbikes from working in the city was made, but after noticing the negative impact especially to the ordinary people using them for transport and for the employment they provided, motorbikes were allowed to be back on track immediately after a month.
But that leaves with no excuse to the passengers who order motorcyclists to hurry or speed up due to their time mismanagement; you will find someone asking motorcyclists to speed up even where it is no possible.
The Rwanda National Police (RNP) and Kigali City Council (KCC) confirm that 80 percent of accidents happening in Kigali City are provoked by motorcyclists, but the motorcyclists disagree with them and point to the Police as the source of such accidents.
Kigali City Council together with the police does not only condemn the motorcyclists alone but also points an accusing finger at both the passengers and the motorcyclists who seem to Condon the behavior and recklessness of motorcyclists which could lead to accidents.
In order to ensure security and discipline among these motorbike operators, they have formed associations and cooperatives. Each of the members is required to have a number and stage of operation- in case you encounter a problem, then the local officials can help you trace that motorist.
The motorbikes actually operate 24hours, and one doesn’t have to worry about spending hours outside during the weekend. You will just stand by the roadside and whistle out or clap your hands- as a sign of wanting a ride back home or to your next destination.
Though most of the bike operators cannot speak English, they can still communicate the prices by sign Both residents and motorbike transporters have been encouraged to play an important role in using motorbikes responsibly especially wearing a helmet for both the passengers and the operators.
Enjoy your motor ride in Kigali city, but remember that safety measures are very essential.