SINGAPORE - The number of accidents involving jaywalking pedestrians rose by 21 per cent in the first half of this year, with about 30 per cent of the cases involving the elderly, said the police on Wednesday (Oct 11).
There were 161 accidents where pedestrians jaywalked in the first six months of the year, up from 133 in the same period last year, and 109 for the year before.
In the first half of this year, there were 135 accidents involving elderly pedestrians in general, up from 124 in the same period last year, and 103 in 2015.
"This is a concern as more than 50 per cent of fatal accidents in the first half of this year involved elderly pedestrians jaywalking," said a police spokesman. There were 11 such accidents.
She added: "The elderly tend to be more vulnerable than others due to their age and health."
On Wednesday morning, each time the traffic lights turned red in North Bridge Road, three to four pedestrians jaywalked across the four-lane street - despite an overhead bridge, pedestrian crossing and six uniformed Traffic Police officers stationed nearby.
It was one of two locations - including Chin Swee Road - where the Traffic Police conducted operations that morning.
Within an hour, The Straits Times saw more than 30 people stopped by officers and have their particulars checked.
"My legs hurt when I climb the stairs, but I'll use the crossings in the future," said Mr Sim Boo Hong, 67, who works as a dish washer. He was among those stopped on Wednesday, and said he did not use the crossings as it was "more convenient" to jaywalk.
Another pedestrian who was stopped, administrative worker Mary Byrne, 35, said it was the first time she was caught in four years.
She added: "It's very common; it happens every day, and old people who walk very slowly jaywalk here as well."
Jaywalking, or crossing the road within 50m of a crossing zone, may attract a $20 fine.
Offenders may also be charged and fined up to $1,000 or jailed for up to three months. Repeat offenders may be fined up to $2,000 or jailed for up to six months.
On Monday, a four-year-old girl died in an accident involving a car in Bukit Batok Central, in the direction of Bukit Batok West Avenue 2. She was with a 37-year-old woman, understood to be a domestic helper, who was also hit by the car.
A barber who went to the scene to help told The Straits Times that people often jaywalked along the stretch of road where the accident happened.
In May, a 10-year-old boy was taken to hospital with severe injuries after being knocked down by a car in Yishun Ring Road, towards Yishun Avenue 2.
He was said to have crossed the road right after alighting from a bus at a nearby bus stop.
"(The Traffic Police) would like to urge all pedestrians to use designated pedestrian crossings, and to keep a lookout, especially at carparks, carpark entrances and their service roads," said Traffic Police patrol unit team leader Low Hui Yu on Wednesday.