In the aftermath of the massive student movement last month, the call for safe road is getting louder. The government and law enforcers are also giving the issue a priority. Police announced a month-long special programme to bring order in traffic management and took some praiseworthy initiatives. For example, the banning for human haulers, mostly run by minor boys, from city roads and the declaration of no helmet no fuel for bikers are welcome.
Another praiseworthy move is to engage scout personnel, consisting of school and college students, to sensitise pedestrians about road rules. There is no denying that reckless driving must be reined in, but the rules of pedestrians cannot be overlooked. Pedestrians share the road with drivers and both are equally responsible for road safety. But how to stop jaywalking is a major question for ensuring road safety.Many a times, mobile court led by Dhaka Metropolitan Police was launched to discipline jaywalkers. The courts fined pedestrians for not using footbridge, zebra-crossing and underpass. But such initiative failed to bring desired results as commuters started walking at their will as soon as the court ended.
A front page photograph published in yesterday’s daily sun shows that scout members are pleading a pedestrian to use foot over bridge, but the latter insists on crossing the road. Earlier, in some other photographs posted in social media it was seen that pedestrians shoved scout members aside and sprinted across the road. What a reckless behaviour and reckless way of passing the road! How roads will be safe if pedestrians keep crossing road in front of speeding vehicles?
Therefore, a more focused and determined drive needs to be launched to create awareness among the pedestrians and panelise those who are caught jaywalking. At the same time the authorities concerned must create a holistic walking environment for pedestrians by getting rid of hawkers and vagabonds from footpaths and footbridges. And to prepare our future generation for the prudent use of roads, motivational courses may be introduced right from primary level of schooling.