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Bikers recount near-death encounters with errant motorists

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Bikers have taken to social media to highlight their near-death encounters with overtaking motorists.

The bikers have shared videos of head-on collision near-misses with oncoming traffic that has little regard for two-wheelers.

“For you to make it to your final destination, you have to be very careful and smart enough in your rides,” said Tonnie Gathogo, one of the riders. “They (drivers) feel like we don’t deserve to be on the road and as per their mind programming.”

Gathogo, relates a near-death incident, which he caught on his Go Pro. Riding his Benelli TNT 302s along the Nairobi-Nakuru highway, a driver in a white Nissan Tiida overtakes several cars and keeps barreling towards him at frightening speed.

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Gathogo slows down and nearly veers off the road to avoid what would most likely been a fatal collision. There’s barely an inch between him and the Tiida. “Some drivers in this highway do not respect anyone who’s on two wheels,” Gathogo says.

Another video, shot at what looks like Mombasa Road depicts a truck driver pulling a similar murderous stunt. After forcing his way onto the biker’s lane while overtaking, he shoves his arms and apparently hurls epithets.

“I have crashed twice on a bike because of car drivers disregarding the fact that I exist,” writes Samson Maina on a Facebook Group. “We bikers go through a lot because of recklessness in the way people drive.”

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Bikers- and by these we mean licensed and professionally trained riders on top-grade motorbikes,- not the Boda boda riff raff who cannot tell the difference between red, green and amber- are a close-knit community. They derisorily refer to motorists as “cagers”.

While the antagonism between bikers and cagers is nothing new, Gathogo says a little maturity and understanding would go a long way in enhancing road safety.

“It’s all about our attitude as Kenyans,” says Gathogo, 34. “If drivers themselves realise that bikers have families to go back to, there wouldn’t be so much antagonism.”

NTSA Worrying Figures

According to the National Transport Safety Authority (NTSA), 884 motorcyclists died in road accidents last year a 48 percent increase from the previous year’s. Three hundred pillion passengers were killed, against 277 in year 2019.

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“The increase in the number of fatalities is worrying,” said the NTSA Director General George Njao. “Human related factors such as speeding, reckless driving, dangerous overtaking, drunk driving, drunk walking, drunk riding, failure to use helmets among others, have been attributed to the crashes.”