For better road safety, educate pedestrians too

It is heartening to read that the Land Transport Authority (LTA) is taking action to make crossing the road safer for pedestrians.

But while safety for pedestrians is important, we must not go overboard and do this at the expense of traffic flow at major junctions.

There has even been a suggestion that drivers using GPS have affected traffic flow, and a proposal to cut off GPS for drivers at road junctions (Right move to stop 'battle' at pedestrian crossings, by Mr Daniel Chan Wai Piew; April 30).

However, I notice that little has been highlighted about the responsibility of pedestrians.

At some traffic junctions, some pedestrians start crossing when they see the traffic lights turning red for motorists, that is, even before the green man is up.

They forget that at some junctions, there is a green arrow filter lane for vehicles to turn.

Another road hazard is pedestrians who have their eyes glued to their mobiles while crossing.

All pedestrians should make it a point to look at all vehicles coming their way until they are on the other side of the road.

Ultimately, who was at fault does not matter because when there is an accident, the pedestrian is on the losing end.

Before embarking on costly modification of traffic lights, the authorities should conduct an educational campaign on responsible crossing for pedestrians, including not trying to cross when there is insufficient time to do so and not using mobiles, not only at crossings but also on walkways, what with the increasing presence of personal mobility devices.

To be effective, the authorities should come down hard on recalcitrants by imposing fines against jaywalkers or, if necessary, amending the law to make it specifically unlawful to use mobiles on the road.

If we work together, our roads and walkways will be a safer place for all.

Ronnie Lim Ah Bee

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 01, 2018, with the headline 'For better road safety, educate pedestrians too'. Print Edition | Subscribe