Someone posted on Facebook a few days ago about an accident near T-Mall, on Langata Road, where a pedestrian was hit by a driver who, according to the narrative, was on the wrong. It was not possible to establish the facts from the driver’s point of view because he drove off after hitting the pedestrian probably in fear of being lynched. The pedestrian unfortunately, succumbed to the injuries he sustained.
Many people die every day through road accidents in Kenya. A great percentage of casualties are pedestrians. Often, the assumption is that motorists are supposed to be on the lookout for pedestrians. An argument that is right but are pedestrians on the lookout for motorists? Often, motorists are faulted when accidents involving pedestrians occur.
Pedestrians are to blame for the accidents sometimes. Recently the government suggested a law where pedestrians would be charged with attempted suicide if found disobeying traffic rules. The hullabaloo on social media was overwhelming with many suggesting that motorists should always be blamed if they hit a pedestrian. This is not the case. We all have a role to play. You have a responsibility over your life. Here are a few things to take keen attention to, as a pedestrian;
- Always use footpaths.
Pedestrians are often fond of crossing at any point of the road or walking in the middle of the road with total disregard of motorists with the assumption that the motorist will spot them. It is important to always use designated footpaths. This will ensure your safety as a pedestrian and that of the motorist. If you are in the company of young children, hold their hands and guide them as they cross roads.
- Cross the road at designated areas
On roads where there is a lot of traffic, there are foot bridges erected to ensure safety of pedestrians. In some cases and especially on Thika Road, Waiyaki Way and Mombasa Road, many people ignore these and go ahead to make a dash across the road. While you may make it to the other side of the road, you will be taking a huge risk. Remember to always use the footbridges or marked Zebra crossings.
- Obey Traffic lights
It is always important to watch out for traffic lights at intersections and roundabouts. When the light is Red, do not cross the road at any circumstances. Wait until the light is Green. Motorists will have stopped at this time hence it is the best time to cross.
- Cross when instructed by an authorized person
Sometimes, traffic lights are not functional or are non-existent. In these instances, there are usually traffic police officers manning traffic. Ensure that you cross only when authorized by a police officer.
- Always be alert
Be on the lookout for motorists and other pedestrians. Do not have you earphones on when crossing a road. Keep off your phone. That phone call or text message can wait until you are at a safe place. Many Kenyans are fond of picking their calls in the middle of busy highways or when walking across the road. This distracts you and you end up endangering yourself and others. Keep off such distractions to ensure maximum alertness.
Road safety is everyone’s responsibility. We all have a role to play. Play your part today in ensuring that we reduce the cases of pedestrian casualties on our roads. If you are a motorist and you are involved in an accident, stop and help the injured person. If the surroundings do not look favorable for your safety and that of the pedestrian, drive to the nearest police station and report the accident. Your actions on the road could be the difference between someone’s life and death.