Jaywalking elderly pedestrians remain a concern

Mr Lim said that one in four accidents involving pedestrians last year were related to the elderly, with 40 per cent of these accidents to do with jaywalking. PHOTO: ST FILE

Accidents involving elderly pedestrians dropped by 6.2 per cent to 259 last year, from 276 the year before.

Elderly pedestrian fatalities also dipped marginally from 26 in 2017 to 25 last year.

Yet, the Traffic Police Commander, Senior Assistant Commissioner (SAC) Gerald Lim, said elderly pedestrians remain a concern. For instance, one in four accidents involving pedestrians last year were related to the elderly, with 40 per cent of these accidents to do with jaywalking.

Also, the elderly accounted for 62.5 per cent of all pedestrian deaths last year, a spike from 57.8 per cent in 2017. About half of the fatal accidents that the seniors were involved last year were the result of jaywalking.

"The elderly pedestrians' idea of road safety might be 20, 30 years ago, when the infrastructure was different," said SAC Lim, speaking to the media on the sidelines of an event held at the Road Safety Community Park in East Coast Park yesterday.

"Now, vehicles travel faster and PMDs (personal mobility devices) are on shared paths. They may not be familiar with these and the speeds at which they can go."

In the past few years, the Traffic Police, the Singapore Road Safety Council (SRSC) and agencies such as the Land Transport Authority have continued to engage elderly pedestrians through education and improvements made to road traffic infrastructure, said SRSC chairman Bernard Tay.

Ways of raising road safety awareness include skits performed by artists at various constituencies, test kits to test an elderly pedestrian's reaction and teaching students safe ways to cross roads with the hope they take home the message of road safety to their grandparents and caregivers.

SAC Lim added that making changes to infrastructure like specialised traffic lights for senior citizens or building more "silver zones" alone is not good enough as "it needs to be coupled with education", or what he described as "re-education", for senior citizens.

  • Cases mentioned by Sun Xueling

  • March 2015: A taxi driver was severely injured along the Pan-Island Expressway by a repeat drink driver. The cabby became bed-bound and uncommunicative for eight months until his death.

    February 2016: A 62-year-old rag-and-bone woman was killed and her husband was severely injured after a drink driver, who had been drinking for nine straight hours, crashed into them.

    October 2017: A four-year-old girl was killed after a car ran over her along Bukit Batok Central.

    February 2019: A car mounted a kerb and crashed into a female Punggol resident who was walking to church. Her foot was severed instantly.

    February 2019: Police Staff Sergeant Salinah Mohamed, 41, had just finished her duty at Marina Bay Neighbourhood Police Centre when she was knocked down by a car at a pedestrian crossing. The mother of three children was declared brain dead. She was taken off life support on Valentine's Day.

Meanwhile, to inculcate good motoring habits, simulation training will be made compulsory for all learner motorists, including motorcyclists, as it would enable them to experience real-life tra-ffic situations.

Another trend of concern is that of accidents involving motorcyclists. Fatal accidents involving them increased to 65 cases last year, from 45 in 2017.

Likewise, motorcyclist and pillion rider fatalities rose by 38.6 per cent to 61 last year, from 44 in the previous year. These deaths accounted for almost half of all road traffic fatalities last year.

Accidents resulting in injuries where motorcyclists were involved increased by 2.1 per cent to 4,358 cases last year, from 4,270 in 2017.

Motorcyclist and pillion rider injuries increased slightly by 0.7 per cent to 4,837 last year, from 4,803 in 2017.

The Traffic Police will explore introducing defensive riding practical lessons for the Class 2B (200cc and below) learner riding curriculum.

According to statistics released yesterday, drink-driving accidents registered a spike last year, while the number of red-light violations and accidents also jumped.

There were 176 cases of drink-driving accidents last year, up by 17.3 per cent from 150 in 2017. The number of motorcyclists who had been drinking and got involved in accidents also rose - by 51.3 per cent from 39 cases in 2017 to 59 last year. Drink-driving arrests dropped by 3.7 per cent to 2,002 persons last year, despite an increase in the number of enforcement operations conducted.

Violations involving running the red light saw a 15.7 per cent increase to 53,910 cases last year, from 46,599 in 2017. Accidents arising from motorists running red lights also rose slightly by 2.6 per cent to 120 cases last year, from 117 in 2017.

Overall, the road traffic fatality rate per 100,000 population rose slightly from 2.16 to 2.2 last year, reversing a gradual decline seen since 2010.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 22, 2019, with the headline Jaywalking elderly pedestrians remain a concern. Subscribe