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Perilous Road Rules In Rwanda

Burdened with the highest transport costs in Africa, the wheels of commerce in Rwanda must rely more on ingenuity than on eighteen-wheel trucks. Reporting from roadside, CBS News Correspondent Allen Pizzey finds that for some Rwandan teenagers, two wheels can carry more than you expect or might find reasonable.

Some would say the traditional African method of transport is atop the heads of women. Almost anything can be converted to woman-load proportions, and the only limitation is the speed of delivery. That's where ingenuity come in. Youth with a need for speed and an eye for demand have created their own transportation medium. They call their vehicles ichugutu, for which there seems to be no English translation. "Kamakazee scooter" might suffice, however.

If they exist, manufacturers specs are treated not as guidelines but as personal challenges by the teenagers who run twisting mountain roads where potholes are are as common as road safety is scarce. The scooters are masterpieces of simple ingenuity: a few boards, wooden wheels with a rubber strip, an old spring for a shock absorber and you're in business.

The wide handlebars provide the leverage for uphill routes, which are lucrative despite the absence of motorized power. This may be an inexpensive form of transport but it's extremely precarious. The wheels feel like they have been squared off and the braking system is less a system and more like the driver's heel. The rough ride might be compared to Flintstone travel. But American truckers would envy the lack of regulation about how much or what you can haul.

As for safety standards, the only restriction seems to be sanity.