Guide to Pedestrian Safety
What are the contributing reasons to South African Pedestrian Fatalities?
- Victims of negligent driving
- Pedestrians forced to use road surface due to crime
- Unattended minors/children without supervision straying onto roads
- Lack of attention from pedestrians
- Pedestrians walking on road and not on designated areas
- Traffic light signals Ignorance/disobedience
- Distracted pedestrians
- Reckless pedestrians
- Intoxicated pedestrians
So how can pedestrian fatalities/injuries be addressed and reduced?
- Pedestrian safety education should start early in the lives of the general population. This can be achieved by:
- School-based pedestrian safety education programme
- Road crossing principles reinforced
- Emphasizing of proper places to cross roads such as zebra crossings, pedestrian bridges, intersections such as traffic lights, etc
- Offer safety guidance to schools by using the scholar patrol programme
- Guiding school children on proper school transport procedures on getting on and off school transportation
- Responsible parenting offering children effective examples
Pedestrian safety advice should involve the following:
- Always obey traffic lights and road signs
- Wear high visibility and lightly coloured, reflective clothing
- Aware of dangers of distracted traffic walking
- Warning not to walk on the road but on the pavement. Walk on the side that faces oncoming traffic
- At all times when intoxicated, avoid roads
- Use a pedestrian bridge if available
- Only cross the road after checking in both directions that there isn’t any traffic
- Never assume that a driver is seeing you
- Be wary around roads
- Eye contact between you and the driver is key, so as to be sure they acknowledge your presence
- Do not go halfway across the road then attempt to go back, or hesitate. Only cross when the road is clear
Bikers/motorists safety advice should comprise of the following:
- Pedestrians can be encountered anywhere at any time, including where you would not expect, like freeways
- Pedestrian bridges or crossing points are usually absent around informal settlements, which are primarily found along main roads
- Avoid distractions and remain alert, especially at night and during bad weather, as pedestrians can be difficult to spot
- Drive cautiously around residential areas
- Pedestrians can be unpredictable, so make no assumptions as to their actions
- Look out for the elderly and younger children
- Avoid overtaking near or around settlements, especially at night or during heavy rains
- Slow down when faced with bad visibility. Impaired vision can be brought on by low sunlight, blinding headlights at night or strong rain
- Pedestrians walking beside the road with their backs to oncoming traffic present a clear danger. Be aware.
- During holiday periods, be aware of intoxicated pedestrians
- Close to or near taxi bays and bus stops usually have pedestrians straying onto the road, be aware
- Where there are pedestrian crossing points, stop and let them cross
Importantly, pedestrian deaths comprise a third of all road related deaths in South Africa. This figure is entirely too high, but with effective mechanisms and education, we can limit these deaths to their lowest numbers.
Pedestrian safety remains a challenge to authorities. But it takes both pedestrians and drivers to tackle this issue, with the assistance of the government and other stakeholders.
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