Letter of the week #1: Road safety does not depend on drivers alone

An elderly man cycles along North Bridge Road on Oct 30, 2013.
An elderly man cycles along North Bridge Road on Oct 30, 2013.ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM

I support the Road Traffic Act passed in Parliament to curb dangerous driving behaviour, especially drink driving (Irresponsible drivers to face longer jail terms, stiffer fines,

July 9).

However, I believe more can be done to enhance road safety as drivers are not the only road users.

I have been driving for more than 30 years.

However, it has never been more frustrating to drive than in the past five years or so.

First, pedestrians on the road.

Smartphone users crossing roads, especially at traffic lights, have forgotten that they are road users.

It is very common to see pedestrians being more interested in their phones than in traffic conditions.

They may rightfully believe that drivers will keep track of them as they cross the road, regardless of the changing pedestrian crossing or traffic light conditions.

This creates a dangerous situation as any misstep on the driver's part may result in a tragic ending.

Many pedestrians also rush to cross the road even with less than five seconds on the timer, with the assumption that drivers should wait for them even after the pedestrian crossing light is set to turn red a few seconds later.

I believe the majority of drivers would oblige, but this is the perfect recipe for an accident waiting to happen since at many road junctions, a driver has only a short time to turn after the pedestrian crossing light turns red.

Second, the proliferation

of personal mobility device (PMD) users.

I have seen many PMD users crossing the road at zebra crossings or traffic light junctions at high speed.

I am not sure whether they understand that there are many blind spots not obvious to motorists when they are driving through a zebra crossing or turning at a junction, having initially found no one crossing the road.

These drivers may not anticipate PMD users emerging out of nowhere at high speed to cross the road.

There is a need to educate all

road users to play their part to

make the roads safer.

Perhaps there is a need for a demerit system for pedestrians, cyclists and PMD users to incentivise proper road crossing behaviour.

When both drivers and pedestrians/PMD users are constantly looking out for the presence of the other, the occurrence of accidents will definitely be lowered.

Tay Kar Wooi