Pedestrians Flouting Traffic Regulations to Be Arrested

According to a news report on Viasat1 TV a few days ago, the National Road Safety Commission has resolved to enforce the new traffic law on pedestrians. In the new law, pedestrians who do not observe road traffic regulations would be arrested by the police for prosecution.

The new law prohibits the following on the part of the pedestrian: crossing the road at traffic light intersections where the traffic light does not signal GREEN indicating that it’s safe to cross the road, using mobile phones while crossing the road, crossing the road at points other than ZEBRA CROSSING or failure to use UNDERPASS (tunnel) and OVERPASS (Foot Bridge) to cross the road. If you do any of these you’re liable for arrest and prosecution.

I know Ghanaians are in the habit of doing short-cut for virtually everything you can possibly imagine. Meanwhile, Ghanaians are naturally law abiding except that they’re fond of taking advantage of loopholes created in the system due to lack of enforcement.

While I personally support any such move intended to reduce pedestrian casualties, I think there are outstanding issues that must first be addressed to make such a laudable exercise a success.  

Let’s look at a few of the issues that need attention. We have drivers in this country who do not observe road traffic regulations. For instance, how many of our drivers do stop on seeing pedestrians standing at zebra crossing? We also have the issue of zebra crossings that have faded and are not visible. Demarcation and location of some of the zebra crossings is also a problem.

The distance between one foot bridge and the other on a particular stretch of road is yet another issue that ought to be looked at. Meanwhile, the foot bridges are also not disability user friendly!

Motorbike riders have also taken over pedestrian pavements, riding from all directions without regard for the pedestrians. I saw one of these riders riding on pedestrian pavement but in a wrong direction and had to quickly make a u-turn upon seeing police officers stationed in the direction he was going. What is NRSC doing about this?

All these issues actually encourage pedestrians to cross the road albeit dangerously.

For the impending exercise to be successful, the NRSC must start doing public education. The public have to understand the need to comply with the new law. If the public is made to understand the importance of observing road traffic regulations, the cooperation they’ll get from the public is going to be very great. There would be the need to also emphasize the fact that the enforcement of this piece of legislation is for the safety of each individual pedestrian.



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