The Secret of Overusing Motorbikes in Marrakech

Omar El Qayedy is a private center English teacher in Marrakech. He graduated with an English B.A. form Cadi Ayyad University in Marrakesh. He is a second year M.A. student of linguistics from the same university for the academic years of 2014-2016. He has a small  modest amount of experience in teaching in public and private sectors. His interest is writing in spite of some hindrances.

Marrakech, Morocco

Talking about Marrakech city and its people often brings its transportation into discussion. Since I was a student in the faculty of letters, I have noticed that most of the means of transportation used to circulate through the city areas are motorbikes rather than bicycles or cars or other vehicles. The matter can be deemed as usual, but it is seen as a controversial issue when the city is considered in comparison with other Moroccan cities. I myself used to see the matter as usual; yet once I came out from the faculty and saw lots of motorbikes set into rows in an enclosed area next to the faculty, I was highly motivated to ask about the reasons behind the overuse of this kind of vehicle especially because the people who are responsible for guarding the motorbikes in parks often wear certain uniforms and do the job in a careful way. I curiously asked some Marrakechies, including my classmates, about this overuse of motorcycles in the city. They, therefore, gave me some logical and convincing arguments about the issue.

To begin with, the streets of the old Medina in which most of the Marrakechies live are narrow and overcrowded. Thus, to overcome the problem of the Medina old plans of narrow streets, people have no way to move around the Medina using cars or other vehicles rather than motorbikes. Because small buildings with narrow alleys are part of the Medina aspects, people tend to rely on motorbikes to easily get access to small places. More importantly, most of the houses in the Medina have no garages or places to put any vehicle when not used. That is, with small buildings people cannot accommodate other vehicles with space when they are not in use. By contrast, motorcycles do not require much space like that of cars do, for instance.

Because Marrakech is characterized by its flat geographical areas, people have no difficulty to move around in the city using motorbikes. Circulating and moving from place to another using motorbikes does not require one to move up or down in the streets of the city with any difficulty. Unlike some cities with steep roads, the city land fortunately has no steep roads to slow down the activity of motorcycles there. Thus, the level surface of the city gladly helps people to move smoothly without any need of reinforcing the speed of motorbikes. This undoubtedly encourages the people of the city to rely on motorcycles.
As all people seek the economic use of money, Marrakechi people very wisely prefer to use motorbikes to get to their destinations by spending as little money as possible. Also, to make such a balance between a moderate residence and a possessed vehicle, motorbikes are preferred to be used in the place of other vehicles. What is more, Motorbikes are not costly either when it comes to buying them or affording their fuel or repairing them when they break down. Being not costly in comparison with other vehicles, motorbikes are easily accessible to anybody for daily use. That is, students use them to go to the faculty or school. Street vendors rely on them to sell their commodity; bread distributors prefer them to facilitate their job which demands successive stops from shop to shop.

In addition to money saving, motorbikes are also used for time saving. In Marrakech, as a narrowed-street city, it is easy for a motorcyclist to move from place to another more quickly than in a car. With a motorbike, it may even be possible to make your way between the stopping cars waiting in a road crossing for the traffic light to be green. Moreover, some motorcyclists can even use the pavement as their way in case the road is overcrowded and blocked. Others just prefer motorbikes to free themselves from the road rage incidents that may sometimes occur when traffic movement becomes a hindrance. Therefore, nothing can make a motorcyclist late, in any way, to reach his destination.

Another reason given is that Marrakechies tend to be satisfied even with small things as being enough for their needs. Historically speaking, the people of this city are characterized by their creativity in making themselves and others enjoy things in a humorous way. Being so, most of Marrakechies see it as enough to just have a motorbike instead of a car as a vehicle. Even some rich people or university teachers, for whom it is possible to get cars, prefer motorbikes as owned vehicles. Being able to create fun and tell jokes even from small things for pleasure, some youngsters prefer motorbikes because it is easy for them to change the appearance and sometimes even the sound of these vehicles as they like. The use of motorcycles can be a matter of imitation of others, too. As people tend to imitate friends, neighbors and parents, most of the people in Marrakech, especially youngsters, use motorbikes just because other people of the city use them.
In brief, people in Marrakech, especially youngsters, tend to use motorbikes rather than other vehicles. The use of this kind of vehicle can be attributed to the old plans of the city roads or the level surface of the city land. It can also be ascribed to such a tendency to make an economic use of money and time that people usually seek. No one also denies that Marrakechies are satisfied with motorcycles either for their benefit or for imitating each other by having these vehicles. For all these reasons, or for others, the people of the city keep using this kind of vehicle so almost every home has a motorbike. 

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