Mon | Jul 23, 2018

State, motorists, pedestrians - tackle fatal accidents

Published:Saturday | May 28, 2016 | 12:00 AM


Over the past 20 years, Jamaica has seen a massive influx of cars. Whether new or used, every year seems to greet us with an ever-increasing vehicular traffic. Accompanying this has been a spike in road fatalities.

As a person who enjoys walking, it is easy to see why each year we see dozens of pedestrians mowed down. With roads built so narrowly so that cars fight for space at the peril of the pedestrian, with sidewalks either non-existent or so damaged that pedestrians are forced to walk in the road; and with pedestrian crossings not repainted in a timely fashion, is it any wonder why pedestrians are dropping like flies?

The State needs to take blame for the poor condition in which it constantly leaves the road. Just looking at how our roads are designed and maintained, it is clear that pedestrians get no love or thought (see the few crosswalks on Waterloo Road as an example).

Motorists need to take some blame, too, as not all of them are saints on the road. How often do we see drivers speeding up while persons are attempting to use the crosswalk? How often do we see drivers lost in their phones, oblivious to pedestrians crossing the road? And how often do we see drivers absolutely disregarding stop signs and lights that are there to ease traffic?




And finally, pedestrians need to take some of the blame, as well. How often do we see pedestrians running in the middle of the road when the light is green? How often do we see pedestrians taking their own sweet time crossing the road? And how often do we see pedestrians blatantly disregarding the crosswalks and instead crossing where they feel like?

We all need to take the blame, and we all need to fix it. The State must ensure that crosswalks are visible and have the police actively enforce the road code. The drivers need to obey the road code and pay attention and the pedestrians ought to follow the rules.

We need to do this, and fast. Road fatalities, coupled with our murder rate, leave far too much bloodshed and potential unfulfilled, not to mention the grieving families. Let us put an end to it.