During my campus days I remember riding the school bus past a brutal road accident. One vehicle had been crushed into a tin can accordion. The other was flawless. The totaled vehicle was one of those Fiats that the Asian community in Kenya is so fond of. The flawless one was a Land Cruiser which had bull bars so menacing that I am sure it was a Predacon in disguise. The bus driver slowed down and asked what had happened. Apparently, the Fiat had slammed into the back of the Cruiser at high speed and was crushed on impact. The damage to the Fiat was self evident but the damage on the cruiser looked like it needed Sherlock Holmes and a magnifying glass to detect. Luckily, it was one of those miracle accidents where no on was physically hurt.
This morning I was in sitting in a Matatu stuck in traffic. I was reading a magazine to prevent pointless lamenting or worse, existential thinking, when it dawned on me. The problem on Kenyan roads is not incompetent traffic officers, lack of courtesy, bad drivers or poor infrastructure. The problem is that we are driving the wrong vehicles. If we all had Cruisers like the earlier mentioned one we may be able to make things go faster. I look at it this way. Remember the movie Mad Max: Beyond the Thunder Dome? Everyone had a vehicle in that movie but how many jams did you see? Correct! None! The reason behind this is that every car had the ability to ruthlessly knock the other off the road. I would like to make a suggestion on how to decongest traffic in this city.
It begins with the French system of government which called for the people to be given what they want (sounds something like “lazy fair”). There are traffic lights on Kenyan roads which may as well be Christmas lights left out too long. Zebra crossings are as pointless as expecting to find actual Zebra on them. Traffic policemen are a little more than an authoritative pyramid scheme and the ones who actually do their job are deemed incompetent by the people they are doing it for. So I say lets pull all the rules out and let people get giant Land Cruisers with angry bull bars. They can drive at top speed everywhere they go and ram the opposition out of the way. “The right of way” will belong to whoever can take it. The only rule I suppose would be “No ballistics”. Think of it like real life bumper cars.
I see four major winners. First is the banks; they can level incredibly high interest rates on people who want to buy their mobile coffins to torment their fellow drivers. However, there is always a strong possibility of someone driving something into the banking hall so some reinforced, cage-like, steel doors may not be a bad idea. Next we have the hospitals which will be receiving a high amount of patients. To reduce feelings of morbidity the hospitals can be called “recovery resorts” and the patients “guests”. This way they are not shy about coming for a second, third and maybe sixteenth stay. Let’s face it these death machines MAY be able to stomp out the smaller ones but when the big ones go at it, there are bound to be casualties. It is like that old Kenyan saying, “When Elephants fight, the grass dies”. So all these cruiser driving “guests” should also be charged heavily. Life insurance policies will skyrocket in sign ups and premiums so the insurance companies also win big. Finally, angry drivers can release all the road rage they can muster without threat of legal retribution.
After reading that some of you are enjoying a little fantasy which looks like a Burnout video game. Yes, I mean YOU! Now tell me, does any of this seem better than waiting two minutes for a light to turn green? If so, then let’s do this. I will have my MP table the motion in parliament (never underestimate the leveraging power of compromising photographs).