Sidewalk signage in Nairobi
Kileleshwa Ring Road has some of Nairobi’s best sidewalk infrastructure, not to mention the roads and bright working streetlights.
These sidewalks are a huge relief to the numerous people who use them every day particularly during rush hour. It is amusing though to note the puzzling animal droppings on the pavements until you hear the clip-clop of the occasional horse.
I’ve had many opportunities to use these streets on foot and to appreciate the excellent signage all along. But after witnessing a speeding cyclist almost knock down a hapless pedestrian, I got to wondering how well the sidewalk users really understand the signage displayed prominently and frequently. Some of these signs are aimed at pedestrians, cyclists and drivers of animals.
Motor vehicle drivers are assumed to be aware of and understand road signs as a result of the driving test requirement. But what about road users for whom there is no requirement to take such classes? For example, how many of the users in these pictures really know what these three signs in the picture above mean and whom they apply to? Do you?
Test yourself on this and other public road knowledge by clicking here to take our free Kenya Driving Quiz available here. You can also click here to request our free Road Signs of Kenya ePamphlet.
If you do not read this post completely, just note that our free convenient driving quiz, available here, can help you prepare for your driving test, or refresh your knowledge if you are a long-time driver.
Plenty has been written about the gauntlet that is the Kenyan driving test experience. From this BBC reporter actually taking the test and reporting on it in 2001, to a local Kenyan journalist who went undercover and did the same in 2013, to this exasperated but thankful local Facebook user eliciting enthusiastic comments on his experience in 2013, and this American infectious disease researcher whose pithy diary is laced with irony and humorous descriptions of his 2014 driving school and test experience.
It is entertaining, even cathartic, to make fun of the folly of the driving schools, driving test officers and the Police administration. Indeed they should be censured, and pressured to do their jobs much more professionally. Nevertheless, we must not overlook the fact that regardless of the futility of the testing process, there is still a serious Knowledge (with a capital “K”) involved in taking such powerful and potentially dangerous machinery onto our public roads. We might think – or not – that we are going to be accountable to the Police or the courts for our driving mistakes (and thus the urge to only observe the rules of the road while in the vicinity of Police presence.) In reality, we will ultimately be individually accountable to each other and to ourselves, and to God. The truth is that, ultimately, by individually treating this Knowledge lightly we are only lying to ourselves in the biggest way, with potentially grievous results.
Many say that Kenyans do not place a high value on human life. Where better to find confirmation of this maxim than on the public roads? And in comments made proudly about having circumvented the Knowledge and still being licensed to take on dangerous weapons? Ultimately, there surely isn’t much of a reason for pride. Indeed shame should be the accompanying demeanor.
This is why it is very important to put in the effort before, and especially after the driving lessons and tests to ensure that our Knowledge and clarity about the rules of the road and how to handle vehicles remains fresh and top of mind every time we assume the hallowed role of driver on public roads. It is all well and good to cram the road signs the night before the driving test, but unlike that science or history cramming session, this is knowledge that could mean death or grievous injury for you or others. Therefore after you have miraculously passed the driving test, be sure to regularly review the rules of the road and particularly road signs in Kenya. This is something that you have complete control over. Our free online driving quiz can help you do that conveniently. Find it and use it here.
If you are planning to take the Kenyan driving test, this free tool can help you practice your knowledge and prepare for the theory part of your test. Experienced drivers can also benefit by refreshing their knowledge.
We all owe it to ourselves and others to be sure we each understand the rules of the road, the road signs in Kenya, how to handle our vehicles safely and what it means to be considerate road users, for our own individual and collective lives and safety.
Start the free online quiz by clicking here. After completing the questions, you will be able to view your score. You will also be able to review your answers and compare with the correct ones.