Tamer Bashir: be a racer on track not in the street



Wed, 06 Sep 2017 - 11:36 GMT


Wed, 06 Sep 2017 - 11:36 GMT

Photo courtesy of Seif Youssef

Photo courtesy of Seif Youssef

CAIRO – 6 September 2017: As a passionate racer who holds a deep love for the sport, a cars enthusiast and T.V. presenter, Tamer Bashir has been hosting Doos Banzeen (Press On the Gas) for several years now and has successfully managed to draw a large audience. He talks to us about his efforts to raise road safety awaireness through his show and sports tournaments, and gives us a few useful tips.

How do you raise your audience’s awareness and keep them captivated?

“Before having a large audience, I was one of them; I was a racer and I still participate in races in international tournaments. After working in the media for the past 13 years, I started drawing followers and people who are interested and want to know updates on motor sports. Then, I started studying more about the sport because experience and practice were not enough and vice versa.

In both of my shows on the Radio and T.V., my main focus was and still is simplifying the subject for people, avoiding big words and addressing people in the same way they talk on the streets.

If I want to people to learn about the importance of wearing seat belts, I do not have to say it in complicated fus-ha arabic. The key to attracting the audience's attention is to give them a clear simple image of the information. For instance, how it looks like to properly wear a seatbelt, how useful it is when correctly worn and how it can be harmful if it is not properly worn ... How to move from one lane to another? How to take a U turn?"

What got you into road safety?

“As a professional driver and a racer who carries the name of a team, you are bound to follow a number of rules and you naturally feel responsible for what happens in the streets.”

The Past Has No Power over the Present Moment
Photo courtesy of Seif Youssef

“In addition, we recently found out that the government also needs our help. This is why our team is working hand in hand with the Ministry of Interior and we are currently discussing and helping with the new traffic law that will be issued soon.”

What questions are you asked the most and which unsafe behavior do you feel is most commonly repeated on the streets?

“For me, all unsafe behaviour is equally dangerous no matter how small. Unfortunately, Egyptians tend to have a mind of their own in driving, they naturally assume the street is their property and only theirs.

For instance, it has become quite normal for people to park anywhere or stop at the middle of the street to drop people off without paying attention if they were actually blocking the whole street; and if someone alerts them, they act surprised, as if there is absolutely nothing wrong with it."

In addition, Driver do not stick to their lanes …

The Past Has No Power over the Present Moment-2
Photo courtesy of Seif Youssef

There have been several road safety campaigns in the past couple of years – have they been successful in your opinion?

“The main key is in different parties working together … there must be a sense of cooperation between the government, people who are in charge of safety campaigns and/or NGO’s, in order for to have a real influence on people’s behaviour in an indirect and simple way.

If only 2 or 3 percent of Egyptians change their behaviour, the difference will be noticed in the streets and any wrong behaviour will be easily monitored.”

Thousands of Egyptians are on the road now traveling outside Cairo to the beach. What specific tips and guidelines do they need to follow to make sure their cars are prepared for the trip?

Unfortunately the biggest segment of traffic accidents involves male youth. What can different players do to raise awareness of this segment (NGOs, the government, media, radio hosts)? Why is it so difficult to get through to this segment in particular?

“I do NOT think youth make up the bigger percentage of accidents today; many youth are aware of Safe driving basics.

“We are trying to reach out for youth who have a passion for motorsports. If you want to be a racer, come to us and test your limits but do it the right way … We are trying to make youth see that the street is everyone’s property not just one person’s.

During a race, I would be wearing a full gear, focused on a track and 100 percent positive that I would not be faced with any unexpected behaviour; but in the streets, anything could happen and I will not be ready for it no matter how good my driving is.”

Because prices are steep now, more and more youth are buying motorbikes (which are also trendy with some segments). What tips do motorcycle riders have to follow?

“The key tip for riders is to always wear their full gear, which is what we try to make people see whenever we go on riding trips.

Unfortunately, Egypt is climbing the charts on the number of motorbike accidents when we almost do not have any real motorbikes. Most motorbikes we see in the streets are chinese or Indian unknown brands, which have not undergone any safety tests. Moreover, many bikers drive in what we call “Delivery style”. I also believe the media plays a significant role in addressing different segments and should focus on presenting REAL safety campaigns. For example, I cannot present a safety campaign and the hero of it drives his bike up in the air; it is unrealistic.”

The Past Has No Power over the Present Moment-3
Photo courtesy of Seif Youssef

Everyone knows that driving licenses are easy to obtain and perhaps tests for motorbikes are even more lax – what needs to change so that anyone using a vehicle actually knows how to drive?

“We are currently working with the government on a number of safety and traffic related campaigns. Just like there is a car manufacturing technology, there is a Road manufacturing technology and a driving technology as well. These are the main three aspects different parties should work on developing together.”

Perhaps one of the biggest problems we have in Egypt is driving under the influence, not of alcohol so much as drugs. What role does everyone have in tackling this huge problem and so far which attempts have been successful?

"I believe this is should only be tackled by the government through more monitoring, increasing the number of checkpoints and issuing strong laws."

Do you feel you have helped in making our streets safer?

“I believe I still have a lot to do about safety in Egypt; but it is enough for me to feel that even a number of people have actually changed their behaviour. The feedback I get from people through messages on air and when someone in the street tells me ‘I have tried your tips and it feels great … When I started sitting properly, my back and neck stopped hurting … When I repositioned the car’s chair, I felt more in control,” all this different feedback I get from people is great, which has motivated me to study more and apply all I have learnt to my work, with the exception of making some changes to fit the Egyptian driving culture.”



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