- About 25% of students at Allidina Visram High School cycle daily to school.
- Even though they enjoy cycling from their distant homes to school, road unsafety remains a major concern due to lack of cycling lanes.
- 3 out of 4 students interviewed have been victims of reckless road users, mostly matatu and bodaboda operators.
Cycling is a potentially dangerous means of transport especially in the absence of cycling lanes.
But as the day dawns in Mombasa, one cannot miss a group of students cycling with the mission of getting to school in time.
Though perceived to be an unsafe way of traveling, most students here prefer the eco-friendly means of transport to boarding a matatu.
“Many students walk since they come nearby areas. Others travel by matatu but those who come from far - Likoni, Shanzu, Bamburi and Mtwapa in particular - come by bicycle,” says Mr Juma Mshimu, the principal of Allidina Visram High School.
Close to a quarter of students who attend Allidina school cycle even though their safety remains unguaranteed as no specific lanes have been set aside for cyclists.
“I have had cases where students are knocked down by vehicles, meaning the roads are not bicycle-friendly. If the government created separate lanes for cyclists, many problems would be solved," Mr Mshimu says.
But as former US President John F Kennedy said, “nothing compares to the simple pleasure of riding a bike", .
In an interview with the Nation, Swaleh Ibrahim, a 17-year-old form-one student at Allidina, says cycling saves him time and keeps him from getting into trouble with the teacher on duty.
“It takes me 15 minutes to get to school from Majengo. Unlike when using a matatu, I manoeuvre through the morning traffic jam hence get to school early. That way I get to avoid getting late and getting punished."
Form two student Elisha Maina notes his bicycle does not come with fares that are hiked from time to time.