JAM | May 15, 2023

National Road Safety Week: Everybody’s business

Vanassa McKenzie

Vanassa McKenzie / Our Today

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Road crashes remains one of the most common cause of deaths globally. According to data from the World Health Organization (WHO), 1.3 million people die each year due to road crashes, while 50 million people suffer from injuries.

Globally, one-in-four of every death that occurs on the road are pedestrians and cyclists.

Jamaica, similar to other parts of the world, has an alarming rate of road fatalities. Last year, 488 people died on the nation’s roads compared to the 487 figure recorded the previous year.

The importance of observing the road codes and driving within the stipulated speed limit cannot be underscored enough by law enforcemengt officials.

The WHO, in partnership with the UN regional commission, observe Road Safety Week annually during May (May 15-21), to spread awareness about road safety and the need to prevent road fatalities through proper law enforcement.

This year, Road Safety Week is being championed under the theme ‘Sustainable transport’, which seeks to promote walking, cycling and the use of public transport to create a sustainable environment.

Road safety is everyone’s business. When the lives of young promising Jamaicans are cut short it not only affect their immediate family, however the country on a whole which depends on its valuable human resource.

As the world observes Road Safety Week today (May 15) we will be revisiting some of the basic steps pedestrians should take when attempting to cross the road.

How to properly cross the road:

  • Look to your left and right before crossing the road
  • If you are using a cross walk ensure to push the button and wait for the walk signal before crossing the road
  • If there is no cross walk or pedestrian crossing close by, be sure to look and listen before attempting to cross the street. Make eye contact with the driver or hold up your hand to let them know that you would like to cross the street.
  • Don’t assume the right-of-way at pedestrian crossings
  • As you attempt to cross the street be sure to look and listen for any incoming traffic that you may have missed.
  • Walk facing incoming traffic
  • Wear light-coloured clothing at nights

Sidewalk etiquettes

Sidewalks are designated areas that allows pedestrians to move safely and freely separate from the busy motoring traffic. There are some useful tips for pedestrians to remember to ensure their safety and the safety of others while using the sidewalk.

  • Stay to the right
  • Be considerate, don’t take up the entire sidewalk
  • Do not text while walking on the sidewalk
  • Do not eat while walking on the sidewalk
  • Do not stop suddenly while using the sidewalk this may results in accidents or collison
  • Be polite when attempting to pass someone on the sidewalk, say excuse me or may I pass before squeezing through close proximity to others using the sidewalk
  • Walk in a single file where there is no sidewalk or where the sidewalk is narrow
  • Walk facing incoming traffic

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