Heath Desk ---- May 28, 2016: Pedestrians’ deaths account for the leading cause of road accident casualties in Bangladesh.
Road safety experts blamed unsafe footpaths, lack of sidewalks and reckless driving for the country’s soaring pedestrian casualties.
They also blamed the government’s total indifference to put in place a proper traffic management for the roads and sidewalks getting more and more risky for the pedestrians.
They said that with the roads in Bangladesh getting totally unsafe to pedestrians, their deaths became daily occurrences in the capital and elsewhere in the country.
Careless crossing of busy roads and highways, a common scene in the capital and the outlying areas also cause deaths and injuries.
Road transport and highways division secretary MAN Siddique said unplanned setting up of schools and kitchen markets beside highways became a reason for pedestrians’ fatalities and injuries.
He said that these schools and kitchen markets became a reason for people to frequently cross busy and highways.
The capital’s sidewalks being damaged and remaining under unauthorized occupation prove to be totally unsafe for the pedestrians.
Absence of zebra crossings and footbridges encourage jay-walking by pedestrians.
On Tuesday morning, a woman died on the spot hit by a leguna as she was crossing the newly widened Bosila Road at Mohammadpur.
World Health Organisation’s Road Safety Report for the South-East Asia for 2015 says that the second highest pedestrian casualties in the region took place in Bangladesh.
Bangladesh accounted for 32 per cent pedestrian casualties in the region in 2015, preceded by 33 per cent of the Maldives, according to the WHO report.
It also says Bangladesh lacks a well-defined policy to separate vulnerable road users like the pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists from the motorists.
According to data collected by BUET Accident Research Institute since 1998, at least 50 per cent of the road accident casualties were pedestrians.
Its another study of the capital’s 54 risky intersections reveals that out of 187 traffic accident deaths that occurred at these spots from 2009 to 2014, at least 149 were pedestrians.
ARI director Moazzem Hossain told that most people in the country were unaware how to use highways.
He said that the government never took the initiative to raise pubic awareness in this regard.
At least 84 per cent of the capital’s sidewalks are either damaged or under various unauthorized occupations, according to a recent survey done by the Work for a Better Bangladesh Trust.
WBBT project officer Atiqur Rahman said motor cyclists and the other unauthorized sidewalk users compel pedestrians to avoid footpaths and set foot on busy streets taking risks of fatal accidents.
Dhaka Transport Coordination Authority executive director Md Kaikobad Hossain said that most of the capital’s sidewalks were under use by unauthorised users.
MAN Siddique told that BRTA launches public awareness drives on how to use the roads and highways.