A colleague complained last week that pedestrians are becoming more careless each passing day. She cited people who cross the Churchill Road stretch between Limbe Post Office and Kapenga Bus Stop.
She also cited the people who cross the Masauko Chipembere Highway pedestrian crossings located between Abdul Majid Motor City and Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH) fly-over bridge. The people jump into the road because they think it is their right to cross the road and motorists are obliged to give them right of way.
Her explanations flashed a memory in my mind of a discussion I had with some women who jumped into the road on a crossing located near the entrance to the Abdul Majid Motor City compound, forcing cars to screech to a halt.
When crossing one of the women remarked: “Osamawopa, kukugunda pamenepa ndi mlandu waukulu”
I was shocked. Fortunately, we took a similar direction after crossing the highway. I took advantage of their company to explain to them a few things about the risk they took to cross just a few inches in front of the speeding vehicles.
I explained to them that while it is true that it is a serious offence to hit a pedestrian at a crossing and that there are heavy penalties for such an offence on the driver, there is no guarantee that the pedestrian will come out alive. The anticipated compensation may benefit other people other than the deceased pedestrian. I further told them that it is not automatic that all such cases go in favour of the pedestrian as the court may have to determine. Some injuries which may result in permanent disability while the driver will just lose his licence to drive for a given period.
This week, dear reader, let us get back to the basics that we learnt in primary school on how to cross the road safely.
Stand on the roadside, look to the right, to the left and to right again. If there is no car coming, cross the road. Walk briskly straight to the other side of the road. Do not cross the road diagonally, it lengthens the distance to be covered when crossing the road.
If there is a pedestrian crossing cross only when the cars are slowing down or stopping. Before stepping onto the road, establish eye contact with the driver. Some drivers will nod approving you to proceed. Others will give a hand signal telling you to proceed.
Personally, I raise a hand for such drivers as a vote of thanks for being considerate.
Patience is paramount in road safety. A few seconds’ wait can save you from an accident that may lead to long-term regret.
It is my humble belief that those that will take hid of these basic road safety skills for pedestrians will reduce statistics of road accident victims. n