THE BICYCLE CITY

The pristine beaches of Mombasa are now threatened. The fresh, refreshing breeze is now polluted. Even the waters are scary rather than enticing. A swim in the oceans is not that fun anymore. Dealing with the slimy fluids in the name of grease from discarded car and boat engines is not welcoming anymore. The sudden increase in the number of engine powered boats does not create the desirable feeling of a holiday in the coast. Instead, the noise generated by the boats makes it not any different from the big cities we break away from. The long traffic snarl ups en route the beach worsen the problem the more.
When the beaches are no longer immaculate. When the breeze is no longer fresh and refreshing. Where will people outside the coast go for holiday? How are we going to raise our revenue? Are some of these machines even necessary in such a city? We have become too lazy to walk to the malls. Schools and offices are now a cab away. This has left obesity, hypertension to boom and flourish!
How I crave for a bicycle city. How I crave for a dinghy city. A simple city with the ability to live in tranquility. A system, coexisting in ecosystem. A bicycle would not emit any harmful fumes that will later threaten lives. That will threaten our very source of livelihood. There would be no more traffic nightmares. Let us restore the good old days with simple boat rides in the seas. Days when people would bask in the sun and reflect without distraction.
To achieve goal number eight of the Millennium Development Goals we definitely do not need billions. Adoption of Eco-mobility will go a long way in realizing this goal. It is a simple and practical way of life that has discernible impacts. Climate Change is to a great extent caused by things that are not necessities in life. If we can walk to work, why do we need 20 cars each emitting a considerable amount of gases into the atmosphere?
Eco-mobility means of transport are unfortunately perceived to be out-modish. The in vogue Range rovers are what everyone wants to have. Camels at the coast are not a form of transport but are used to entertain tourists in the sandy beaches. My city is abandoning cheap, readily available forms of transport for expensive and complicated ones. Eco-mobility does not feature incandescently.
I pose and propose that we adopt Eco-mobility especially for an urbanizing world like ours. That county government enact policies that will facilitate the implementation of Eco-Mobility. That we promote walking to work, fossil fuel-powered means of transport and cycling.
The Suwon experience will be an opportunity to benchmark and learn what other nations are doing to achieve environmentally friendly transport options. Such practical solutions will goad inhabitants of my city assume healthy ways of life through Eco-Mobility.

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24 thoughts on “THE BICYCLE CITY

  1. Our towns and urban centres were never planned. that’s why they grow hapharzadly. I’ve lived in Mombasa from when I was a toddler to the age of 20. I left Msa in January 2011 to pursue a career in the Capital. Mombasa lacks proper planning and growth framework as a metropolis. Just go to areas as Bombolulu, Kisauni, Kiembeni, Shanzu… the land there was still planned as a rural area, narrow roads and the land owners would cut up plots the way they desired. What is emerging now is a metropolis that looks like a village!!!

    • Somy, you just nailed it. Likoni is another hodge-podge. The lack of planning and the increase in population worsen the situation. I strongly advocate for Eco-mobility to help us deal efficaciously with the climate change effects. Poor forms of transport and this confusion threaten the lives of our generation!!

  2. I second that thought dear! Eco-mobility should not only be embraced at the coast but also in the other cities in Kenya. Eco-mobility in the estates and learning institutions will also go along way in achieving MDGs! Nice read!

  3. Superb, but I believe that what the noise pollution you are talking about is fun for others. There is freedom to do anything in the beach. The engine boat rides, recreation facilities provide jobs to many at the coast! Going the Eco Mobility way will render them helpless.

    • Thank you Mr. Kenga for the comments. They are legit to some extent. I will first respond to your first argument. Allow me to refer you to an aphorism I love so much, “It’s good to have FUN but always remember the first three letters of FUNERAL!” I will also refer you to qualities of rights and freedoms, a right that infringes on the interests of others is not a right or freedom. The freedom you talking about touches on the very heart of other peoples interest. The effects of climate change will be felt by many in the coast. Unemployment should not even surf ice here. EcoMobility has numerous employment opportunities.

  4. Great article Obrieny and congratulations from my side as well. Hopefully someday we will live to see Mombasa getting back it’s flair. The government needs to create viable solutions for cyclists and thus offer us alternatives to cars. Only then would some of us rethink to drive to our offices located 15 minutes away from our homes. This I think would also solve some security issues as well like carjacking ;-)

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