(MENAFN - Arab News) With more pedestrians finding themselves lost at road crossings, they say the absence of bridges or marked crosswalks at some of the busy intersections are among the main factors causing the problem. The solution lies in providing as many pedestrian bridges as possible and making the pedestrians use them.
The government is constructing new bridges in Jeddah. Many people have welcomed such projects as they ease traffic congestion at the road
crossings. They also ease the traffic flow, lessen the use of traffic signals and ultimately result in saving energy, as drivers do not have to wait idly at traffic signals while keeping the ignition on.
Roy, an employee at the Starbucks branch at Palestine Street, told us: "My apartment is on the other side of the shop where I work and it takes me half an hour to cross the road as the motorists do not give way. With long waits, I find it difficult to reach my workplace on time."
Driving speed is the crucial parameter of road safety. Chances of accidents increase when motorists indulge in speedy driving, and put the safety of pedestrians at risk.
Ahmed Ali, a resident of Bawadi district, King Fahd Street, said: "My wife is scared of sending my son to the shop, which is across our house.
It is risky in normal times but especially dangerous in Ramadan when people drive even more recklessly. It would be helpful if pedestrians bridges are constructed or at least zebra crossings are clearly marked at these points."
Palestine, Prince Majed and Bani Malik streets have heavy vehicular traffic.
Alongside these streets are heavily populated districts with apartments,
shops and offices. Thus, there is also a heavy pedestrian traffic. Lately, the rate of fatal accidents involving pedestrians in such areas has increased.
Bani Malik Street, in particular, is a case in point. The ever-busy street is
dotted with auto spare parts shops on both sides. Aboud Ali, a taxi driver, said: "Crossing the road in this area is a nightmare.
" A car mechanic also said: "We don't find all car spare parts at one shop and we need to go from shop to shop on both sides of the road. Especially after the flyover has come up, cars pass nonstop at high speed, so it is impossible for pedestrians like us to cross the road."
During Ramadan, motorists try to reach their destinations in time for breaking their fast. This is witnessed much more so on streets with flyovers with drivers speeding regardless of speed limits. There are no facilities to enable residents of such roads to cross them. The situation is believed to be the same for pedestrians in other cities in the Kingdom.
Surveys done in Saudi universities on accidents show that the involvement of pedestrians in road accidents is second highest. So, it is strongly recommended that separate lanes should be provided for pedestrians, especially at road crossings.
People's recklessness is also blamed for accidents, as they do not use pedestrian bridges but tend to dangerously cross the busy thoroughfares. Perhaps the best solution lies in providing proper crosswalks with 'walk/don't walk' signals or marked walkways. Indeed, it is time that urgent action is taken by the Municipality to prevent the tragic loss of pedestrian lives on busy roads.