Pedestrians must also observe rules of the road

A pedestrian walks past the vandalised gate at the Myne Maatjies day-care centre on August 23 2019.
A pedestrian walks past the vandalised gate at the Myne Maatjies day-care centre on August 23 2019.
Image: Alon Skuy

There is a strange behaviour that seems to be engulfing our people. Many community members who live next to highways have decided to overlook pedestrian bridges meant to keep them safe and instead cross over the highway.

This is dangerous behaviour that should be avoided at all costs. Walking across a highway is a risk, as vehicles on those roads are travelling at lightning speed. It has become common for pedestrians to be knocked down on the highways because they can’t always match the speed of the approaching car.

Again, all motorists driving on the freeway are not expecting anyone to walk across the road, as that route is strictly for cars, so the level of vigilance is mostly challenged. There are no traffic lights on the freeway, so the speed of cars is mostly between 60km/h and 120km/h or even higher than that, given that there are emergency services vehicles also driving on those roads.

What kind of people risk their lives by throwing themselves into a road that has speeding cars? Road crash fatality data reveals that approximately 35% to 40% of road deaths in SA are pedestrian deaths. Most of them are either drunk, reckless, distracted or those who are having a total disregard of road rules.

As part of providing solutions to this problem, schools must also be at the forefront of teaching children about road safety. Let them be taught that no matter how fast they think they can run, they can’t outrun a vehicle.

Traffic officials must arrest those found crossing the freeways and ensure that there is successful prosecution. Innocent motorists find themselves with blood on their hands due to someone’s reckless behaviour, and that scar stays with them for life.

We are human beings and not animals, so we don’t need government to erect high walls to prevent us from crossing highways. Let sanity prevail because we are old enough to know the danger of what we are doing.

Malphia Honwane, Gottenburg eManyeleti

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