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City pedestrians shy to use zebra crossings

Published : 21 Sep 2019 09:58 PM | Updated : 07 Sep 2020 01:03 AM

The safety of pedestrians has come under serious threat in the past few years in the capital city as people tend to ignore the signalised systems on important and bigger roads and cross the roads traditionally. 

Causing much worries to everyone, the concerned departments, entrusted with the tasks of dealing with such problematic matter, show very little interest on this issue.

Pedestrians are often found not using zebra crossings, which are more important than footbridges in the Dhaka city. In the capital city, there is no control for pedestrians’ road crossings. 

It is challenging for elderly people to cross a road through a foot over bridge, and zebra crossings can help them cross the roads without any risks, transport experts said. Most of the pedestrians are found crossing roads without using foot over bridges in the capital and ignoring zebra crossings. 

Quiet a good number of incidents can be citied across Dhaka city every day, where pedestrians cross roads in unruly manners, drivers seem to be careless, and the traffic police seem to be reluctant. 

Earlier, police have launched a series of campaigns to increase the awareness among pedestrians and drivers about zebra crossings. 

Traffic Sargent Ashraful at Sonargaon Intersection claims that, pedestrians risking their lives don't pay heed to traffic rules. He said, controlling people at crowded places, especially near educational institutions, recreational parks, big shopping malls and political gatherings becomes very difficult. 

Another police Sergeant Jahangir Alam also admits that “pedestrians do not want to follow the rules. We even detain them, but it has been fruitless”. Raising awareness about legislation and laws can be a prevented way out, experts suggests. 

Accidents Research Institute (ARI) of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology study suggests that, sustained road safety and educational campaign is very essential to aware, motivate, educate and above all to change mindset of our people regarding traffic rules and regulation and inhibition of not using grade-separated facilities. 

Accidents researcher Enamul Islam said, "Some drivers allow pedestrians to cross but most of the others don't and this unfortunately will either cause accidents or we will be honked at." 

Road crashes are predictable and can be prevented, zebra crossings are the cheapest and best ways to manage pedestrian movement on busy roads therefore, the authorities concerned should consider having more zebra crossings in Dhaka, he added. 

Humayun Kabir, an executive engineer of a private construction company, said, "we have to introduce modern 3D zebra crossing at different parts of city roads to ensure road safety for transporters, passengers and pedestrians." 3D zebra crossing has already been used in developed countries with a hope to force drivers to slow down vehicles and avoid cases of hit-and-run accidents, he added. 

About 1.25 million people die in road crashes each year, on average 3,287 deaths a day. 

An additional 20-50 million are injured or disabled. More than half of all road traffic deaths occur among young adults. Road crashes rank as the ninth leading cause of death and account for 2.2 percent of all deaths globally, according to a World Health Organization (WHO) reports. Road crashes are the leading cause of death among young people aged 15-29, and the second leading cause of death worldwide among young people aged 5-14. Each year nearly 400,000 people under 25 die on the world's roads, on average over 1,000 a day. 

Over 90 percent of all road fatalities occur in low and middle-income countries, which have less than half of the world's vehicles. Road crashes cost USD $518 billion globally, costing individual countries from 1-2 percent of their annual GDP. 

Road crashes cost low and middle-income countries USD $65 billion annually, exceeding the total amount received in developmental assistance. Unless action is taken, road traffic injuries are predicted to become the fifth leading cause of death by 2030. 

General Secretary of Bangladesh Road Transport Workers' Federation (BRTWF), Osman Ali admitted that the drivers do have very little knowledge about zebra crossings, as they are unacquainted with it. 

He emphasized on effective campaigns, and organizing of training programs for drivers to ensure the effective use of zebra crossings.