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More are jaywalking, despite the danger

Police: 2,409 cases of such risky behaviour in first quarter of this year

Published on May 6, 2013 7:45 AM

THE number of jaywalking cases has increased, say the police.

The figures went up from 1,758 between January and March last year, to 2,409 during the same period this year.

In addition, nearly 50 people a year are killed while crossing the road. Police statistics revealed that 44 pedestrians were killed last year. The number was 49 in 2011.

"Pedestrians are a vulnerable group of road users. They are likely to sustain serious or fatal injuries if they encounter a traffic accident. Hence, they must never even attempt to jaywalk," said police spokesman Lam Sin How.

Pedestrians jaywalking across North Bridge Road on a Friday afternoon two weeks ago. The Straits Times observed an average of nearly one in 10 pedestrians crossing the roads here illegally over two days. -- ST PHOTO: LIM SIN THAI
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Background story


Very few cyclists dismount

MANY cyclists put themselves and other road users in danger when they use pedestrian crossings. At the 20 junctions observed, fewer than 10 out of 200 cyclists dismounted and pushed their bikes across the road.

Instead, most were seen weaving across the road among pedestrians, some with small children riding pillion. Some were riding at high speed, and even tried to beat the lights when the "green man" was flashing. One such cyclist at the intersection of Sembawang Way and Sembawang Drive was nearly hit by a vehicle which was about to move off.

"When a cyclist rides across the pedestrian crossing without stopping, it gives no time for drivers to react," said Mr Steven Lim, president of the Safe Cycling Task Force.

At a junction near Greenwood Primary School at 7am, 33 cyclists did not dismount. Some had young children with them.

"Pedal cyclists who do not dismount and instead cycle along pedestrian crossings, especially at non-walking or fast speeds, risk causing injury to pedestrians in the event of a collision," said Mr Bernard Tay, chairman of the Singapore Road Safety Council.



Eyes on their mobile devices

INSTEAD of keeping their eyes on traffic, many pedestrians are often distracted by their mobile devices when they cross the road.

This bad habit was observed in about four out of 10 pedestrians at 20 traffic junctions across Singapore.

They were spotted sending text messages, listening to music or even watching videos on their phones, leading to a few close shaves with oncoming cars.

At a busy crossing opposite Choa Chu Kang MRT station, a middle-aged woman who was listening to music while texting, unknowingly stepped off the kerb and was almost run over by a passing car.

At a Toa Payoh junction near the bus interchange, a young woman was seen jaywalking while chatting on her phone. She stopped in the middle of the road to watch for oncoming vehicles, but was not aware of a turning car that almost ran over her foot.

Said SRSC's Mr Tay: "During that short time while crossing, pedestrians should pause any phone conversation, tell the caller to hold on, lower the phone and whatever device and give attention to crossing."



Some risk lives to save time

THERE were several close shaves when 5,000 pedestrians were observed over two days.

The most common offence: dashing across a junction when the "red man" was on.

Within a half-hour period, two near-misses were spotted by The Straits Times at the junction in front of City Square Mall.

In both cases, a pedestrian was trying to cross the road when the lights were against him, forcing drivers of oncoming vehicles to slam on the brakes.

One of the vehicles stopped just inches from a pedestrian.

Pedestrians who spoke to ST said jaywalkers are usually spotted in the mornings because they are in a hurry to get to work or school.

"Any time saved is not worth the risk when a human life could be tragically cut short," said Mr Tay.

"Pedestrians must set their minds to correct their chain of habits, such as giving more time for the journey by waking up earlier or setting out earlier, and thus permanently get rid of their jaywalking habit."



Parents' dangerous habits

SOME parents are guilty of dangerous road habits.

Five adults were seen pushing strollers or carrying heavy plastic bags while allowing children to run ahead at pedestrian crossings.

Most of the cases occurred on smaller roads in heartland areas and usually involved parents with more than one child.

"Young children are particularly vulnerable (to accidents) because they are less visible to motorists and therefore should walk close to taller adults," said Mr Tay.

In one instance, two children dashed across a junction at Marine Parade Central when the "red man" was on. They were nearly hit by a vehicle that had just dropped off a passenger.

At the cross junction of Thomson Road, Newton Road and Moulmein Road, a woman was seen standing in the road with a pram.

But good habits were also observed: Some parents raised their hands at zebra crossings, while others used the overhead bridge to avoid busy junctions.

"Parents must train their children to stay close at crossings," said Mr Tay, adding that they should also hold their hands.