Thursday, October 12, 2006

Bicycles are lovely

Here's my little idea that is win-win-winny. Now that many people are forced to wear out their soles (if not their souls) on Abuja's roads, why not get everyone bicycling? The people who set up the bicycle factory in Kaduna could open one up in FCT (Rufai would give 'em land). This would create mucho jobs (start by employing the ex-okada riders). Then the FCT people would paint cycle lane markings on the side of the road to make it a safer activity - cars would be fined if they strayed.

There could be bicycle parks at strategic points (more jobs created for people making and people selling cycle locks and for those looking after the parks). Abuja would become healthier still as everyone takes to the craze. Young men would date young women by offering them a ride into the country, cycling off for romantic picnics under the shade of Zuma rock. The hospitals would be less full of people with heart problems because everyone would be super-fit.

All we'd have to do first is persuade Senor Rufai that its not just poor people who ride bicycles in London, then maybe he'd be ok with it...


My Talking Beginnings 11:53 am  

If wishes were horses!
Surely you realise that bicycles would be a death trap in abj when one considers the bad roads and awful untrained drivers that prowl the roads. To think about bicylces in Nigeria would be catastrophe until other facilities are put in place that is!

Jeremy 12:03 pm  

Haba mtb - the roads in Abuja are excellent. True, the driving is terrible - no lane discipline etc. But Kaduna is full of people bicycling about. Transformation begins with dreamers dreaming the impossible..

Shango,  4:53 pm  

I can just hear the lilting sounds of a pan flute filling the air around Abuja as butterflies flutter about, and Nigerians slowly riding their bikes in soporific enjoyme... wait! Is this Nigeria you're talking about?

Omo Nigeria 5:41 pm  

Hi jeremy,

The Problem with Okada and Abuja is more of how the riders ride it. Everyone feels like James Bond and they quickly want to dispatch one passenger and look for another. By the time they get involved in accidents, their eyes finally Open.

Bicycles in Abuja? - it might be a way for the Ministry of sports to look for potential fastest-bicycle-riders, at least to prepare for the next Olympics. By the time the same ex-Okadas (nasarrawa boys) get on those bicycles, they might be going so fast and over-taking cars. Have you seen the leg-tissue of some of those okadas? you might be a little surprised.

MsMak,  8:01 pm  

If wishes were horses, beggars (or in this case, the citizens of Abuja) would ride bicycles.

I agree that transformation begins with a dream, but it will be difficult in many cities in naija, Abuja included. There's the issue of bad driving and poor road safety culture to consider, not to mention marking the roads for bicycle lanes and educating the gen pop (and you already mentioned in an earlier post how little effort, money and resources we invest in education of any kind in Naija). Let's not begin to get into our culture of "shakara", especially in Abuja. Cycling with your date to a romantic rendezvous? Yeah right!

I think efforts should be put into developing a properly regulated inter-city bus system. Alas, the idea might have to be sold to one of the president's pals who would get monopoly on routes, subsidies on vehicles and such like (a la Arik Air) in order to make it a reality.

Finally, i wanted to say, excellent blog, great writing, great insight on many issues concerning Naija. I read your blog everyday... will try to comment a bit more. Cheers!

Nkem 8:57 am  

This is not such a pipe dream. Bicycles are still an important mode of transport in rural areas. There's hardly any public transport, so people have to rely on bicycles. Now, to translate that to cities.

Josh 5:47 pm  

Wow, this is so informative and so practical if only those affected can read it. There should be a way to communicate this to the appropriate persons? I'm actually interested in getting this to work as much as I can, if in any way you see how to implement it.

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