Tendency of crossing the streets ignoring the nearby foot over-bridge is seen as a very common behaviour among pedestrians in Dhaka. In the teeming street of the mega city, in spite of having many adequately designed footbridges within reach, pedestrians are often found crossing roads jumping over the dividers. The consequence of such practice of jaywalking is that most of the victims of road crashes in the capital are pedestrians.
We more often than not blame the government for the road-mishaps. But pedestrians seen to have proclivity for violating traffic rules. We forgot that maintaining discipline on the roads also falls on our shoulder. We have repeatedly written about jaywalking and how they increase the likelihood of accidents. But what we now need are stiff penalties for jaywalkers who put both themselves and the speeding vehicles at grave risks of mishaps.
We are aware that the Metropolitan Police and the City Corporation have taken several measures to encourage city-dwellers to use footbridges. As part of their initiatives, the walkways are decorated with flowers and trees, ensuring adequate lighting during night time use. Also, to facilitate the movement of city-dwellers, 51 bridges and three underpasses were constructed at different points of the capital. But all the efforts went in vain as is evident from the series of media reports and photographs.
Traffic education should be a
regular feature on print,
electronic and social media
It has been closely observed that due to lack of security, cleanliness and nuisance of hawkers many pedestrians do not feel like using footbridges in various areas. Therefore, we urge the authorities concerned to keep footbridges free from the grabs of hawkers, beggars, muggers, and unwholesome crowding to encourage pedestrians to use footbridges.
Considering all above, necessary steps should be taken to strictly penalise jaywalkers with adequate fines and other punitive measures. Also there is the strong need for a sustained social movement to make people aware about the necessity of using footbridges. In this regard, media should play a significant role in the way it contributed in carrying messages on family planning and use of birth control methods. Traffic education should be a regular feature on print, electronic and social media. If should also be emphasised in the academic syllabus at the primary level education. Educational institutions should teach students about the necessity of using footbridges and spread the knowledge among the peers and family members.