It will cost you Sh1 million or a year in jail or both if caught driving on pedestrian walkways or cycling tracks, if a proposed Bill becomes law.
The Kenya Roads (Amendment) Bill 2022 makes it a criminal offence to drive on the undesignated areas as it seeks to restore order on the Kenyan roads effectively putting on notice rogue motorists with a penchant to harass or even injure pedestrians, cyclists and other non-motorized users.
However, this will only come to pass if the Bill sponsored by Samburu West MP Naisula Lesuuda and currently in the National Assembly, becomes law.
The Bill seeks to amend section 2 of the Kenya Roads Act of 2007 to make it mandatory that all roads be designed to have lanes or tracks reserved for exclusive use by non-motorized transport.
The existing lanes reserved for use by the non-motorized transport have been taken over by motorists leaving pedestrians, cyclists and others to find alternative ways.
But this is now bound to change in a move that will reduce unnecessary accidents on the roads.
“A person who unlawfully uses a lane or cycling track reserved for pedestrians, bicycles or other form of non-motorized transport for any other purpose commits an offence and shall on conviction be liable to fine not exceeding Sh1 million or one year imprisonment or both,” the Bill reads.
It is not just the motorists who have taken over the places reserved for the non-motorized transport.
Mechanics, hawkers and carwash outlets among others have invaded the walkways making it a nightmare for the pedestrians to operate.
The Bill defines non-motorized transport as all forms of travel that do not rely on an engine or motor for movement and includes walking, cycling and mobility assistance devices.
Non-motorized vehicle means any vehicle that is not self-propelled such as a bicycle, wheelchair and scooter.
A pedestrian means a person travelling on foot.
Cycling lanes means on-road lanes exclusively reserved for use by bicycles and wheelchairs, with clear markings separating them from other lanes used by motorized vehicles.
Cycling track means part of the road exclusively reserved for use by bicycles and wheelchairs and is physically separated from tracks used by motorized vehicles.
Pedestrian walkway means part of the road exclusively reserved for use by pedestrians and is physically separated from lanes used by motorized vehicles.
Universal access is defined by the Bill as the use of road infrastructure by all persons regardless of age, mode and physical ability.
“The facilities designated for pedestrians, bicycles or other non-motorized transport shall not be used for any other purpose,” reads the Bill.
The enactment of the Bill will restore sanity and order on the roads and also ensure the safety of pedestrians who have had to endanger their lives to compete with motor vehicles for the available limited spaces on the roads.
The Bill also seeks to cushion pedestrians from unnecessary harassment from motorists who have taken over the pedestrian walkways.
Ms Lesuuda’s Bill makes it mandatory that each public road be designed to have clearly marked lanes or pedestrian walkways for exclusive use by the pedestrians.
“All existing public roads which do not have lanes or tracks designated for use by pedestrians and non-motorized transport shall, where appropriate, be upgraded to provide walkways and tracks which are clearly marked for the exclusive use by pedestrians and bicycles,” the Bill says.
The walkways and tracks shall, where appropriate, be physically separated from lanes used by motorized vehicles for safety measures and also protect pedestrians and other non-motorized Kenyans from unnecessary harassment.
The Bill provides that the Cabinet Secretary in charge- Transport and Infrastructure- shall publish standards for the planning and design of urban streets.
This, the Bill says, shall be done with consideration of measures to prioritize mobility for pedestrians, cyclists, other non-motorized transport and public transport users.
To seal the implementation gaps, the proposed law says that the CS in charge shall within nine months of coming into force of the law, publish standards for the design, construction and equipping of cycling lanes, cycling tracks and pedestrian walkways to ensure safety, universal access and functionality.
The standards according to the Bill shall include the use of signage and signaling for non-motorized transport.
The authority or county government may take measures to regulate the use of non-motorized vehicles on all or certain classes of roads for purposes of safety and functionality.
The Bill also makes it mandatory for all urban areas to have support facilities such as bicycle parking so as to promote non-motorized transport by improving safety and utility.
This, the Bill says, shall promote green mobility and reduce vehicular congestion as well as vehicular carbon emissions and in turn contribute to Kenya’s attainment of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) targets.