In the olden days, aside from the use of animals such as donkeys, camels and horses for transportation and/or carriage facilitator, some well to do individuals made use of Bicycles for their movement from one point to another. There may be one or two individuals who has the resources to buy bicycle at that time in a village.
However, when civilisation came, the usage of bicycle as pleasure ride was thrown into the wind due to the fact that it was not as fast as the new invention – the motor car. Facilities enjoyed in a car are not available in any bicycle such as the size which makes provision for more than 1 or 2 persons on board. It has roof that provides shelter from both the sun and the rain in their seasons. It’s exposure to risk such as accidents is also minimal as compared to the bicycle that is open to a lot of hazards.
Traffic congestion on our roads where Lagos residents are subjected to traffic jams for minimum of 2 hours both in the mornings on their way to offices/markets/shops and when returning in the evenings leaves much to be desired. In an attempt to arrest the ugly situation, the state government decided to create dedicated lanes on major roads within the state, procured new state-of-the-art luxury buses that take passengers from one spot to the other with the journey duly regulated, resulting in a trip from Ketu to CMS terminals, for example not taking more than 30minutes on the average. So far, the government has recorded some successes with this innovation but there is still more to be done because we still experience serious traffic on the non-dedicated lanes and this calls for serious thinking on the way out. All hands must be on deck.
The next area I would like the government to look into is the possibility of encouraging Lagosians to start using bicycle as a means of transportation in the state with the attendant benefits to both the physical and the economic aspects of our being.
However, as obtainable with every venture/process/endeavour in life with advantages that must have disadvantages, bicycle as a means of transportation in our urban cities despite its exposure to accidental risks on highways and/or intra-ways has a lot of advantages that far out ways the disadvantages. They can be categorized into physical/health, economic and environmental benefits.
The physical benefits of bicycle as a means of transportation in our urban cities could be in the form of physical fitness. For the fact that most of the bicycles used in this part of the world are manually operated, it serves as a form of exercise for the rider where unnecessary fats are burnt off the body, thereby ensuring that he/she is physically fit. This further extends to the stability of the mind and soul. A healthy mind will be ever-ready to discharge any assigned duty effectively and efficiently due to his physical and mental fitness.
1. The economy of any state is guaranteed by the effectiveness and efficiency of the service delivery within various organs of its system. Wherever there is time wastage, such economy loses a lot of money. Bicycle as a means of transportation will ensure that there is little or no traffic jam on our roads; people will be able to execute their business plans without stress on the roads as has been experienced for many decades with thousands of motor vehicles are heading towards the same place at the same time.
2. The acquisition cost of a bicycle is far cheaper and affordable than cost of owning a motor car. It is equally more economical to maintain a bicycle than a motor car. In the same vain, there is an opportunity for people in lower class to own a mobility engine/machine such as bicycle more readily than owning a motor car which facilitate their movement in and around the city.
3. Bicycle owners do not have to worry over fueling more especially when there is fuel scarcity.
4. Bicycles require little or no serious maintenance as compared to motor cars that need periodic engine tuning and servicing at least twice or thrice a year.
5. Spaces occupied by bicycles are so minimal that 8 to 10 bicycles could be parked in a space that would take a motor car (i.e. a space of about 7.2m2). This more people transacting business in the city of Lagos without being anxious of how to get transport back to their destinations at the end of the day.
6. Children are not left out of this endless list of benefits in that parents could afford to buy them bicycles without much strain on their purses. They are allowed access to the roads even before attaining the age of 18 years (allowed by law to drive a motor car) under close monitoring of the parents.
Riding bicycles on our roads will prevent the uncontrollable emission of carbon monoxide, CO from thousands of vehicles plying our roads on daily basis. This poisonous gas is dangerous to the health of our people and has always been contributing to the high mortality rate of the society. The same goes for the effect of the CO on the Ozone Layer in the sky.
TO DO LIST
In order to achieve success in the system being proposed, the Lagos State Government has to put some measures in place that would take care of the inherent hazards with riding bicycles on our roads. The benefits, though numerous and plausible will become naught if the Government refuses to ensure the following:
1. As obtainable with the BRT lanes that are dedicated to Government buses on most of our major roads, government should create dedicated lanes for the use of bicycle riders to avoid collision with motor vehicles.
2. Government should enact laws enforcing cyclists to wear Crash Helmets before embarking on any journey with their bicycles.
3. Enforcement of the “right of way” section of the Traffic code to ensure that other road users obey the code on our “round-abouts” and “junctions” at all times.
Given the above, Lagos roads will be very safe to ride and we shall all be proud to be part of the Lagos storey. Then, Lagos will be a state of LONGEVITY AND GOOD HEALTH.
Eko o ni baje oooooooooooooo!