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Day 2 of 4th United Nations Global Road Safety Week - How FIA and United Nations team up to Save Lives - #slowdown

We at Auto Arabia consider that the lack of public awareness about road safety and speeding hazards is one of the main problems which Egypt is facing in its crucial fight against the high numbers of road crashes and road fatalities, and which needs to be tackled in a professional and sustainable way in order to improve the road safety records in this 100-million inhabitants country.

Therefore we at Auto Arabia teamed up with the Automobile & Touring Club of Egypt ATCE in order to raise the public and media awareness about this extremely important issue, as our part and contribution to the 4th United Nations Global Road Safety Week and to the efforts of the FIA in improving the road safety situation worldwide.

During this Global Road Safety Week we will see Auto Arabia’s editor-in-chief Mohamed Sheta cooperating closely with the Automobile & Touring Club of Egypt and its Traffic & Tourism Committee. Sheta is not only an influential automotive journalist and well-known jury-member in six internationally-renowned automotive awards with over 25 years of experience in the automotive, motorsport and media sector, but he is also an internationally-acknowledged road safety advocate speaking regularly in fluent German, Arabic, and English at regional and international automotive and road safety conferences.

Sheta will be talking daily here on autoarabia.org and on several radio and TV channels about the most challenging problems and obstacles facing the road safety efforts and goals in Egypt and how adapting a #slowdown strategy could save lives among all road users, and not only among the passenger car drivers.

This extensive media activity is aimed primarily at reaching millions of road users, internet users, TV viewers and radio listeners but at the same time will also reach the political decision-makers and stake-holders.

On each day of this road safety week Mohamed Sheta will tackle a different road safety topic/problem, and explain how to adapt effective solution for those road safety problems based on the current circumstances in Egypt and based on the behavior and understanding of the Egyptian road user.

During the seven days of the 4th UN Global Road Safety week Sheta will talk about the following seven topics:

- 08.05.2017: Risks of speeding for passenger car drivers
- 09.05.2017: Risks of speeding for motorcycle riders
- 10.06.2017: Risks of speeding for microbus, minibus, public transportation bus, tourism bus and taxi drivers
- 11.06.2017: Risks of speeding for Light Commercial Vehicle drivers
- 12.06.2017: Risks of speeding for Heavy Goods Vehicle drivers
- 13.05.2017: The role of the government, the private sector, the NGOs, the public & private schools, the public & private universities and the law enforcement authorities
- 14.05.2017: The importance of the use of modern technology and ITS by the law enforcement and the importance of active and passive safety features in the passenger cars, motorcycles, buses, LCVs and HGV for reducing the braking distances

So today on the 9th of May 2017, the second day of the 4th UN Global Road Safety week, Sheta will be talking about the risk of speeding for motorcycle riders:

‘The situation for motorcycles riders in Egypt is extremely sophisticated. Hundreds of delivery scooters are roaming the streets of Cairo and other major cities 24/7. In Egypt you can get everything delivered to your doorstep, starting from the Big Mac Combo Menu from McDonalds, your toothpaste and milk from the supermarket, your chicken shawarma sandwich from the Syrian grill shop or even your Panadol Extra from the pharmacy.

Some multinationals like McDonalds, KFC and Burger King provide their scooter delivery boys with helmet, but this does not mean that that they wear where all the time. When I stopped some of them and asked them why they are not wearing the helmets provided to them, some of their replies were astonishing to say the least.

One of them told me: ‘If I wear the helmet than I cannot use the phone while I am riding and cannot take new order’. Another one told me it is too hot under those cheap Chinese helmets, especially in the summer time.

This is understandable because those cheap Chinese helmets do not cost more than 150 LE (approx. 15 US dollars before the devaluation in November 2016, nowadays 150 LE would be less than 8 US dollars. I proper helmet with a proper ventilation like the Shoi, AGV, or Schuberth helmets usually cost between 150 and 450 Euros. So I am not surprised that those Chinese helmets have a proper ventilation and are not comfortable to wear.

But the main problems for those thousands of delivery drivers are not the Chinese helmets. The main problem is that the majority of those scooter delivery boys are ‘free-lance’ delivery boys. This means that most of those delivery boys own those scooters, Vespas, Indian Bajaj Boxers or tricycles. They get paid 2-3 Egyptian pounds (LE)by the pharmacies and Doner-restaurants per delivery, in addition to the tips they receive from the customers. 2-3 LE is nowadays equivalent to 10-15 US cents only. So, the more deliveries they do the more money they make. Therefore most of them are speeding the whole time in order to make as much money as possible per day. And that is one of the main reasons for scooter and small motorcycle accidents in Egypt.

Of course those low-quality and low-budget motorcycles such as the Indian Bajaj Boxer (imported by Ghabbour Auto in Egypt) and the Made-in-China Vespas imported by Halawa and the other importers lack all the basic safety features such as ABS, brake-discs in the front and in the back, etc.)

But the problem is almost the same with the much bigger and more expensive bikes and luxury brands, such as BMW Motorrad Egypt and Ducati Egypt. A friend of mine started taking riding lessons and shortly after that he went to the local Ducati dealer MTI in order to buy an entry-level beginners-bike from Ducati, the Monster model. The only monster bike available at the dealership at that time was a model without the life-saving Anti-Blocking-System ABS. My friend told the sales person that he would prefer to wait 2 or 3 month till they get a Ducati Monster with ABS in the next shipment from Italy.

Of course this ignorant and greedy didn’t want to wait 2 or 3 months because he wanted to get his sales commission as soon as possible. So, what did he do? He told my friend and convinced him that ABS only works when it is raining and that it is useless in Egypt because we hardly have any rain in Egypt. Of course after only a few days my friend had an accident with this bike, because it did not have ABS.

Therefore I recommend that the Egyptian government would ban the import, assembly and sales of scooters and motorcycles without ABS and make the live-saving ABS mandatory for all scooters, motorcycles, tricycles and Tok Toks sold in Egypt.

For those among us who can afford more expensive bikes like the Diavel, Electra Glide or the S1000 RR, I always recommend to order those bikes with the full safety package and safety options available such as ASR, Traction controls and even with airbags like in the case of the Honda Gold Wing.

And since motorcycles accelerate and deaccelerate much faster than cars due to their better weight-to-power ratio, it is even more important that the riders always keep in mind the danger of speeding. For many reasons. Firstly, motorcycles are much smaller than cars so they are not as visible as cars for other road users and pedestrians.

Most car drivers, who are not acquainted with the dynamics of riding motorcycles, would always underestimate the braking capacities of motorcycles in front of them or their speed when they appear in the back-mirror. Same applies to pedestrians who are crossing the roads and cannot estimate the real speed of motorcycles, especially when they cross country roads or highways like the Cairo Ring Road or the Mehwar Road.

Therefore my recommendations to all scooter-, Vespa- and motorcycle-riders: #slowdown and save lives!’

AA
09.05.2017
Cairo



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