Mombasa Road is the most dangerous route in Nairobi and drivers have been blamed for causing accidents and deaths.A report by the National Transport and Safety Authority says 27 people died on the road from January 1 to August 19.
Across the city, 76 pedestrians died over the period. Motorcyclists came in second at 48 deaths, followed by vehicle passengers at 34, drivers at 15, pillion passengers at 11 and pedal cyclists at three.
Mombasa Road has been a cause for concern, with accidents stirring a public outcry. Early this year, Kenya National Highway Authority (Kenha) director-general Charles Njogu said the road has “a number of undisciplined drivers”.
“Being an extremely high-traffic and busy road, drivers are supposed to drive at 50km/h, but you find that some speed up to 80km/h, increasing the possibility of accidents,” he said.
Njogu pointed out that impatient pedestrians are likely to be knocked down by vehicles.
“The NTSA has allocated traffic marshals at certain points along the roads marked for crossing by Kenha. In spite of that, some pedestrians fail to follow instructions from the marshals and cross the roads hurriedly, causing crashes,” he said.
Pedestrians have been put on the spot for failing to use footbridges. Kenha has repeatedly appealed to pedestrians to use footbridges. However, city residents have complained that some are inhabited by muggers who prey on them and rob them of their valuables. Some are attacked. Hence, many residents risk their lives crossing the road wherever they wish in total disregard for the designated crossing points.
The NTSA report says the newly upgraded Outering Road was second with a toll of 23 deaths. According to the Kenya Urban Roads Authority, 11 footbridges are to be built across the 13km stretch. So far, six footbridges have been put up.
The report puts Waiyaki Way and Thika SuperHighway at third with 18 deaths each. Kangundo Road, which is currently being upgraded, had 16 deaths, Jogoo Road and Eastern Bypass had 12 each and Juja Road 10.
Roads that recorded less than 10 deaths include Airport North Road (nine), Northern Bypass (six) and Kiambu Road (five). The Southern Bypass, Wangari Maathai, Murang’a and Ngong roads had four each, while Lang’ata, Enterprise, Mwiki-Kasarani and Nairobi-Malindi accounted for three deaths each.
In 2018 report on the Northern Corridor and Nairobi County Route Hazard Mapping, the NTSA pointed out that major roads lacked safe pedestrian crossings, which resulted in pedestrians crossing at any point of the road, especially near roundabouts.
Inspekta Mwala speaks out after freak accident that killed pedestrian
Also blamed for the rise in pedestrian deaths was the lack of enough footbridges and ignorance in observing traffic rules. The report says private vehicles led in road accidents at 73. Sixty-four unknown vehicles were involved in accidents, while public service vehicles were third at 56. Other categories include commercial vehicles (42), motorcycles (three), government-owned vehicles (two), bicycles (two), tuktuk (one) and mkokoteni (handcart — one).
MAUREEN KINYANJUI/The Star