Infantile left disorder
Almaty owners of "Japs" with right hand wheels find themselves in a difficult situation, to say the least. Almaty mayor Victor Khrapunov recently announced that in the nearest future the cars with right hand wheels will be banished...
This information shocked many car owners. Terrible rumours started creeping around the Southern capital about car service stations refusing to check up cars with a steering wheel on the right side!
Almaty road police commenting on the rumours said that those service stations simply had their computers "buzzed" so that they couldn't carry out checkups due to technical reasons. - It was a mere coincidence, - Serik Kainazarov, chief specialist of Almaty road police department, stated.
How many cars with right hand wheels are there in Almaty? According to the RDP, only in January 1,500 such cars were registered in Almaty. In total there are five thousand right hand wheel cars in Almaty and if such tendency remains the same, by the end of the year, according to road policemen, their number will reach 25 thousand in the ex-capital.
And according to unofficial version of car sellers, there are at least fifty thousand "right hand wheelers" in the city. In a word, this question can't be answered by anyone, but one thing can be said for sure - there are more and more "right hand wheelers" in the ex-capital. Mainly it is Japanese cars. They are especially popular due to maximal automation and comparably cheap prices.
According to Izbassar Bekturov, head of Almaty RDP, the transport means with right hand wheels are intended for usage in the countries with the left hand traffic. According to the policeman, it is because passengers get in and off the car from a footpath. And our streets are different. Only the policeman seems to have forgotten that drivers of left hand wheel cars traditional for us are also getting off their cars from the left side... Nevertheless, the policeman acknowledged that "right hand wheelers" don't prevail in accidents. There is no statistics on the influence of right hand wheels on accidents in Kazakhstan at all, but already in the nearest future policemen will register accidents provoked by "right" drivers and those provoked by the "leftists" separately.
One more reason for the necessity of banishing the right hand wheel "Japs": they are said to influence the city ecology negatively... An owner of motor show specialising on right hand wheel cars commented on that version thus: "Cars from Japan come to our city with a much lower mileage, than German cars with left hand wheels. Besides, "there are special additives, purifying the fuel system more often. Therefore they can't influence the city ecology more than traditional for us cars".
It's still unclear, what should the owners of "right hand wheelers" do? What should they do with their cars? According to Ablai Sabdalin, Almaty akim assistant, the owners of "right hand wheelers will have exactly half year to sell their "iron horses". But who wants the banished commodity?!
Mr. Sabdalkin suggests to sell the cars to other town of Kazakhstan, where they aren't banished... Therefore, it means that Almaty will live according to laws differing from those of the rest of the republic? It's strange: a man bought a car in accordance with the law, registered it in accordance with the law and now all of a sudden himself and his car are illegal?
It's unclear, what sanctions will be taken against such "outcasts". In one of motor shows of the Southern capital, where they sell right hand wheel cars, they estimate such situation as nonsense:
- It would be more or less clear if they ban the right hand wheel cars, motivating it by the fact that there are too many of them in Almaty, - the motor show owner says. - But banning the cars that have already been registered and have state numbers is just stupid and absurd! There are a lot of presuppositions why they want to banish the "right hand wheelers". They say that the authorities lobby interests of official left hand wheel car dealers. But who's going to believe it?
Let's add that it is not necessary at all for lobbying to banish the "right hand wheelers". It is enough to show intentions to spread around panic and make potential buyers lose all wish to purchase cars with right hand wheels.
In any case, no matter what the final decision is, we would like to believe that the Almaty authorities realise this idea in a civilised way.
In our view, it is necessary to define a real term to allow owners of "right hand wheelers" to sell their cars or at least reequip their "iron horses". We hope that compensations are paid, because losses are inevitable: costs for shifting the right hand wheel to the left side are estimated in one thousand and half or two thousand dollars.