I received a mailer from the Security Department the other day. Basically, it reminded everyone to cross the roads properly and detailed an accident that took place several weeks ago. A pedestrian had gotten knocked down and suffered minor injuries. The clincher? He had been reading his emails on his phone while crossing the road!
Now, I had heard rumours of the accident on the grapevine on the day of the accident and when I passed the rumoured accident scene, I saw collateral damage to bollards along the road side. The car must have been damaged pretty bad, trying to avoid the pedestrian.
That really got me thinking. Assuming (and I am really assuming here) that my postulation about the accident is correct. The driver is more or less innocent of any wrong doing. Yet, in all likelihood, even if he is safe from the sanction of the law, he has probably incurred upon himself a hefty repair bill. What is probably going to happen is that he will submit an insurance claim and his premiums will rise significantly next year. All this because some pedestrian was reading his emails and stepped out onto the road in front of him! Talk about bad luck!
In more extreme cases, reckless traffic crossing can actually result in deaths of motorists. Remember the case where a drunk tried to cross the PIE? The worst part is that the victims are unlikely to be able to obtain any compensation from the errant pedestrian. There is no mandatory third party insurance for pedestrians. Unless the pedestrian is a millionaire, most victims of poor pedestrian road safety will never receive their rightful compensation unless they are self insured.
Road safety is the responsibility of all road users, pedestrians included. But from what I observe, many pedestrians are starting to take road safety for granted. Many cross at unauthorized road crossings; some even taking their own sweet time to do so and force drivers to apply a hefty amount of braking to avoid hitting them. Honks to warn them of their feckless behaviour may sometimes be greeted with rude stares or even the universal gesture. Most pedestrians are of course more of the complacent variety - they are just careless with road safety. Just like the pedestrian I described.
Something must change. I suggest that heavy sanctions be adopted to combat such behaviour. To start with, we should enlarge the offense of jaywalking to include reckless road crossing, increase the fine to $100 and conduct highly publicised Traffic Police Ops to catch offenders.
What say you?