Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago says that city authorities are now struggling to change structural designs of roads to accommodate different road users to guarantee safety but even then, the pedestrian lanes so far put in place are being abused.
Ugandans still do not find cycling viable, even though COVID-19 had somehow pushed people to think of new ways of
mobility including cycling and walking.
The discussion came up as Makerere University researchers were
releasing findings of a study in which they were assessing the impact of the
COVID-19 pandemic on mobility patterns in the Kampala Metropolitan area. The study was conducted among 595 commuters including health
workers and market vendors in addition to 280 transporters consisting of bodaboda
motorists and taxi drivers operating within districts of the Kampala
The findings of the study indicate that several commuters resorted to walking and cycling at the
height of the first lockdown. And when restrictions on transport were slowly
lifted, many kept walking partly because transport costs had been hiked four
times from pre-lockdown rates.
Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago says that
city authorities are now struggling to change structural designs of roads to accommodate
different road users to guarantee safety but even then, the pedestrian lanes so
far put in place are being abused.
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He said cycle lanes are still missing in their designs even
for the newly constructed Kampala Institutional and Infrastructure Development
Projects (KIIDP) roads despite advocacy for them as a form of active mobility that’s
also important for health.
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So far, Lukwago says that only 616 kilometres of the about 2,110 kilometres of roads
in Kampala are paved which is why other than focusing on
aspects of road use and respecting lanes, they are preoccupied with
constructing more infrastructure.
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The researchers led by Trauma Surgeon Dr
Olive Kobusingye warn that Kampala roads remain very
unsafe for especially non-motorized users. And yet, Amanda Ngabirano an urban
planner and advocate for non-motorized
transport say data shows them that 60 per cent of people use walking as a means of
transport, often involuntarily because they can’t afford the cost of motorized
Only 10 per cent of all Ugandans use private cars, she says, and adds that
there’s a need for behavioural change interventions such that people can learn to
use the road properly and safely. She said, for now, Boda Bodas are using vehicles and walkways
which is why there are a lot of road traffic accidents mostly affecting pedestrians
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Kobusingye says going forward that government needs to plan
for mobility for especially essential
workers in case of disasters advising that the pandemic is not yet over and in an
event of another lockdown, people need not encounter the same challenges in
movement as the initial lockdown in 2020.