Disregard for safety all around
TWO photographs published side by side on the back page of New Age on Monday tend to point at pedestrians’ general disregard for traffic rules, regulations and instructions. While the first photograph shows a man, along with two children, crossing a road at Kakrail without using the nearby footbridge, the other shows a number of pedestrians using the zebra crossing bypassing a signboard that clearly prohibits such an act near the Karwan Bazar roundabout. Needless to say, both the roads usually remain very busy almost all day long. Yet, pedestrians get across the roads even risking their lives.
One could easily blame the lack of awareness about the danger lurking in such endeavours. The relevant authorities have so far taken few effective initiatives in this regard. Moreover, although there is no dearth of rules regarding traffic management as well as streamlining pedestrian movement, there is a lack of effective enforcement of those rules. It appears that everyone, be it drivers of vehicles or pedestrians, is at their will in terms of using thoroughfares. And as its inevitable consequence, road traffic accidents, which frequently involve pedestrians and at times turn fatal, have become almost a regular phenomenon. It may be pertinent to mention here that, in line with different surveys, around 40 per cent of road accidents that take place in the city a year involve pedestrians.
It cannot be denied that city authorities, including the city corporation, have failed to ensure adequate measures for pedestrian safety in terms of crossing roads. They have constructed a number of footbridges over the roads in some parts of the city. But, according to experts, designs of all those bridges are flawed as it is really very tough for children and aged persons to use them. In addition, none of them allows access for wheelchair users or other physically challenged people. Above all, a large number of footbridges are all along occupied by hawkers, while some of them remain filthy, discouraging people to use them. Security concerns also contribute to people’s not using some footbridges.
The government needs to take immediate steps to streamline not only traffic management but also pedestrian movement. It needs to make the relevant authorities enforce traffic rules in a sustained manner.
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