Make giving way to the vulnerable part of traffic code

Pedestrians crossing the road.
Pedestrians crossing the road. ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG

It is common sense that pedestrians' safety comes first ("Code of conduct puts pedestrians' safety first"; last Friday).

In any traffic situation, pedestrians are the most vulnerable. It is not a matter of etiquette, but as The Straits Times has rightly headlined it, the issue is about safety.

In a society not known to be mindful of the vulnerable, pedestrians and anyone vulnerable to faster, larger or heavier objects in motion get the rough ride, to put it mildly. More often than not, they become the victims of accidents.

We should include yielding to the vulnerable as the most important rule in our traffic code for all who want to drive or ride a moving vehicle, be it a pedal bike, scooter, car or truck.

If we can show this primary response of yielding to the vulnerable, we could have a scenario where motor traffic automatically yields and gives way to any pedestrian coming into its path.

We would have cars and bigger vehicles giving way to smaller vehicles, such as motorcycles, and trucks giving way to cars and other more vulnerable traffic, and so on.

Imagine the sanity this would bring to our roads, not to mention the apparent courtesy that would appear.

I urge all those responsible for formulating traffic rules, as well as all who have to study them to pass a test to get a licence to drive, to master this one rule and obey it.

"Yield or give way to the vulnerable" should be memorised until it becomes ingrained in everyone's reflexes.

This simple, common sense rule can help reduce the many accidents that occur, and is especially relevant in a country with an ageing population.

Thomas Lee Hock Seng (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 21, 2016, with the headline 'Make giving way to the vulnerable part of traffic code'. Print Edition | Subscribe