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Bodaboda cyclists decry poor state of pavements in Kampala.

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Cyclists to deliver a petition to parliament to voice their concern on poorly maintained city pavements and verandahs

  • The gaping potholes and manholes are giving us hard time riding on the verandahs
  • It is safe for people to walk on the main road than on pavements
  • We are tax payers and we demand the best
  • Pavemenets are a signal free ride for us and our clients.
  • We can not tell the difference between a pavement and a road because both are so poorly maintained

Bodaboda cyclists are known for their special riding skills on Kampala’s highly congested potholed roads pavements.

They always utilize the pavements to beat the long traffic snarls and crowded traffic junctions where they sometimes get down from their bikes and push them as if the tyres are  punctured.

Our reporter spoke to one of them nicknamed “Musoga” along Namirembe Road and he said, “We have plenty of experience, we rule the pavements and we also know where traffic police hide. In such places we are careful and if from a distance we spot anyone in white, we immediately cross to the other side of the road for another pavement. The best thing we like about city residents is the respect they give us when we are riding on pavements. They never say a word even if we run over them”

Musoga added “Like me, many fellow cyclists use the city pavements to ride peacefully. There is no risk of any taxi hitting you from behind or knocking off another car’s side-mirror. It’s like a signal free ride for us and our clients. Besides most of the time traffic police do not find riding on pavements an offence. This might be because in a city like Kampala you cannot tell the difference between a pavement and a road because both are so poorly maintained”.

When our reporter further asked what about the pedestrians, how they walk on the city roads. Musoga said, “Have you seen any pedestrian walking on the verandahs or pavements?. The condition of the pavements is so poor. In most of the places the street vendors have encroached, those constructing use the verandahs for dumping all the construction material. The gaping potholes manholes do not even stop people from using the the verandahs to park their vehicles, some have developed nice gardens on pavememts and in some areas, shop owners use every inch available in front of their shops to illegally display their goods”

“Though some of us ride with utmost care there are some cyclists who run over pedestrians if they make a mistake of walking on the pavements. We try as much to avoid this by hooting and racing our bike engines unlike the pedestrians who do not signal at all when changing lanes direction. Walk like a duck, get crushed like a duck. I would say it is safe for people to walk on the main road than on pavements. Verandahs are for daring people like us bodabodas who can manoeuvre the open manholes, open gutters, broken sewerage pipes, sand pits, big potholes, hawkers and parked vehicles. We can do all this with our eyes closed”, Musoga said.

However Musoga like all his fellow bodaboda cyclists are worried of the delays and traffic jam on pavements that is affecting their business and safety. “It’s due to the absolute poor state of the the pavements and verandahs. We urge KCCA for the sake of people like me they should maintain the verandahs and pavements which are drivable. We are tax payers and we demand the best. Otherwise few years from now, even the best archaeologist would struggle to find where a verandah or pavement was”, Musoga concluded.