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CAMEROON : Undesirable Traffic Jams Again!

With the start of the new school year, some neighbourhoods in Douala have become no-go areas. Douala, like other Cameroonian towns, is experiencing an unusual burgeoning traffic. Workers, pupils and students, who must board taxis at 7:30 a.m are grossly being perturbed by early morning go-slows, which characterise every roundabout and T. junctions across the city. The traffic police control officials have sort to double every effort, but much more is still desired to educate commuters, public taxis and private car owners on the need to strictly observe and respect existing traffic regulations.

Inadequate mastery of the highway codes by some drivers and the over 70,000 bike riders in the city, has amplified the congestion. Another problem now cropping up, in addition to the already encumbered difficulty in getting to school or work on time, is the polluting noise generated by motorbikes, which do not only swarm the streets but also ceaselessly hum like bees, from one neighbourhood to another. Commuters are sometimes obliged to queue on a single spot, either in a bid to cross the roads or get on to the cars, for excessively long periods.

Getting rid of the motorbikes and accompanying ills is a daunting task, for in an attempt to evade traffic jams, most road users prefer the bikes, which easily meander and cut through undulating chains of waiting vehicles, even where and when the traffic regulations do not permit. If your heart easily breaks, then you need not delve into the streets of Douala during rush-hours, because you would see as many as three or four hasty passengers urging a racing bike rider to speed on. But what easily ruffles the mind is how sluggish the public authorities are to curb such risky habits. Gross violation of traffic regulations and over-speed are some of erroneous cultures which have been imbibed by drivers and riders over the years, to either catch-up with time or simply hunt hot cash, at all cost; chancy adventures which often cost lives and resources.

Christopher JATOR

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