Wakili Timam is a dedicated biker and established speed bike racer, winning regional bike championships and local circuits under the label – Team Timam. On the daily grind, Wakili Timam is an Advocate of the High Court.
Many a times, Wakili is out championing the rights of bikers, on the prevalent discrimination against bikers – which often result in fatal, tragic endings. Below, the biker narrates an altercation he had with an obnoxious, self-entitled couple driving around in a Prado – and, a bloated ego.
Published as is.
When you see an SUV, (such as the Toyota Prado) on the road, you’d be tempted to assume that there’re smart, cultured and reasonable road users on board.
That was hardly the case on Saturday when I encountered vehicle registration number KCT 611D at Makuyu Town just before midday.
For those who ply the Nairobi to Nyeri/Embu/Nanyuki/Meru highway, you’ll have noticed that after Weiteithie (between Juja and Thika) there’s only one other set of bumps until Sagana/Makutano.
That place is known as Makuyu. You’re likely to find a police road block as you approach the area and sometimes there’s a traffic snarl up due to the existence of the police road block and the said speed bumbs.
I rode to Embu on Saturday where I attended a dowry payment ceremony (or whatever ruracio is called in English ).
There was a traffic snarl up into Makuyu stretching a couple of hundred meters if not more. Drivers appeared to be patient and disciplined as no cars hogged into the less busy oncoming traffics lane…well until the driver of the pictured KCT 611D noticed that there was only one on-coming – small displacement motorcycle with its headlight on full beam and a truck almost 100 meters behind it and thought it wise to take advantage of the “empty” road and pass a few cars .
The Prado guy abruptly swerved into the oncoming traffic lane, pushed the boda boda guy completely off the road and then squeezed back into his lane after passing 4 or 5 cars just before the accelerating truck got to his position. The boda-boda guy momentarily lost control of the bike but survived it. He was able to proceed with his trip after looking back at the Prado and throwing his left hand up in a clear display of displeasure.
I was watching all this unfold from right behind the Prado as I patiently waited for enough space to overtake safely.
With the traffic barely moving, I took it upon myself to stop right next to the Prado driver whose window was rolled down, lift my visor up and shout “Heshimu Pikipiki Ndogo!!!” and I left.
I could see that he was momentarily scared probably because of the misconception that bikers are rowdy and aggressive but I didn’t put much thought into it at that time so off I went.
Fast forward to around 4pm at the venue of the ceremony.
I am engaged in a rather lengthy call with a TSA official when I notice an angry couple ogling at my bike. When the phone call is done, I return to my bike to sip a drink.
The couple approaches me and says that my bike looks like the bike which had harassed them earlier in the day. It turns out that they’re next door neighbors to the bride-to-be’s parents and we were both headed to the same event.
You can clearly see that they are hoping to intimidate me and probably get an apology or something but they clearly have no clue who they’re dealing with…
Without hesitation, I ask whether they’re the occupants of the Prado that I encountered at Makuyu and they say – Yes.
I ask the man who’d been the driver why he felt entitled enough to risk the life of a motorcyclist in a bid to save a few seconds on the road… he’s speechless at first. He attempts to claim that he didn’t see the motorcyclist but I quickly point at my helmet camera and he swallows the remainder of his words.
The woman interjects and with a straight face says says “pikipiki zikiona gari ikikuja zinafaa kutoka kwa barabara ziende kando”.
And do not for a second think that it’s one of those rural women with understandably little exposure…no it was a seemingly well-educated woman.
It goes downhill from there.
I brutally dis-abuse them. I take them through a quick lesson about how their bloated sense of self-importance doesn’t entitle them to risk anyone’s life or limbs. I tell them about the many motorcycle accidents (fatal or with varying degrees of injuries) which are reported as self-involved are usually caused by drivers just like them and the driver’s excuse is always “but i did not hit him”.
Let’s just say that they’ll always remember my face whenever they see a boda-boda on the highway.
The conversation changes and they tell me that I am lucky that they’re good people coz otherwise they’d kick me out of their compound hahahaha .
I quickly remind them that I’d be willing to push my bike to the next county just to be disassociated with people who believe that putting another man’s life in harm’s way for some meaningless gain is justified. You can see the shame in their faces.
I add insult to injury by stating that if the boda-boda guy had lost control of his bike and crashed to his death, I’d be arguing with a murderer at his compound.
The woman blatantly calls me an activist and suggests that I should also start doing the same on people who liter while driving. Some nearby police officers who were colleagues to the late Steve Nm overhear the conversation and join us.
The senior officer states that the solution to such incidents is common sense. The woman thinks that the officer is taking her side and so she thanks him and they make a hasty retreat into their nearby house.
We are left there laughing about how the people who you’d expect to be part of the solution are so ignorantly stuck in being the sources of the problem.
The officer tell me about their experiences working with Steve and how his motorcycling life amazed them. They also share memories about how bikers graced his funeral and you can see that guys left a memorable mark in their lives.
We also discuss how important it would be to have laws changed so that drivers who cause motorcycle accidents through reckless driving but without making contact with the motorcyclist should also be found blameworthy and arraigned in court…the burden of proof would still be on the part of the prosecution but with many dash-cams and GoPros coming into the roads, we could easily change the driver’s attitude towards motorcyclists via prosecution.
There are many drivers out there who blatantly disrespect motorcyclists and disregard their rights to equal access to our roads.
Being in a hurry is not an excuse to endanger other people’s lives. No one has bigger rights or privileges on the road except emergency response vehicles and when necessary, the president. If we sit back and expect our online noises to change the attitude of drivers towards us, we will all be taken out of these roads one accident at a time.
We must take a stand against rogue drivers and pile enough pressure until the issue is addressed conclusively…. otherwise, it will remain someone else’s problem until you get involved in an accident.
Ni hayo tu kwa sasa.