UAE | General

Abu Dhabi police crack the whip on jaywalkers

Eight-month campaign aims to cut pedestrian casualties by 50 per cent

  • By Dina El Shammaa, Abu Dhabi Deputy Editor
  • Published: 00:00 April 17, 2011
  • Gulf News

Pedestrians cross the busy Najda Street in Abu Dhabi
  • Image Credit: Ahmed Kutty/Gulf News archive
  • Pedestrians cross the busy Najda Street in Abu Dhabi. According to a police report, there were 24 pedestrian deaths during the first three months of this year as compared to 32 deaths for the corresponding period of 2010.

Abu Dhabi: An aggressive plan is under way in the next eight months to help reduce the number of pedestrian casualties by 50 per cent, announced the Abu Dhabi police in a press meeting on Thursday.

The Abu Dhabi police will watch the streets for any jaywalking violations in the next few months through random inspections in Abu Dhabi, said Colonel Jamal Salem Al Ameri, Manager of Customer Service Centre at the UAE Ministry of Interior — Abu Dhabi police headquarters.

He said police will instantly issue a fine of Dh200 to jaywalkers, as per traffic law number 21 for 1995.

The pedestrian campaign initiative kicked off in the beginning of 2011, however active enforcement will be implemented through a newly organised committee at the ministry who, according to Engr Abdul Razzaq Zaytoun, Traffic Engineering Adviser at the Traffic and Patrols Directorate, has implemented strategies two months ago, to help curb the number of pedestrian deaths.

Clear text

"The committee has discussed increasing the number of safety billboards in streets, as well as making sure that the text on those sign posts are clear and readable for pedestrians and motorists. Our second mission is to increase awareness with regard to traffic regulations," said Zaytoun.

According to a police report, there were 24 pedestrian deaths during the first three months of 2011 as compared to 32 deaths for the corresponding period of 2010.

"The decline is encouraging, however we hope that through our campaign on road safety measures and regulations, the community will be more careful. Our police officers will be rigid on violations, by making sure jaywalkers stick to designated zebra crossings, bridges and underground crossings. In the next eight months we will work hard — day by day, week by week, month by month, to reach our target," said Colonel Al Ameri.

Up to 70 per cent of pedestrian deaths occur among Asians, said the Colonel. "We feel that this is because the Asian community is not familiar with our street regulations. That's why part of our campaign will consist of presentations on street safety measures, across companies, schools and universities.

Websites

"We'll also publish awareness reports on the dos and don'ts for pedestrians, through newspapers, radio and television as well as through various websites [Facebook and twitter]," he said.

Speaking about the vehicle death toll in 2010, First Lieutenant Hamdan Hasan Mohammad Bin Thayban, Responsible for Media Affairs Unit at the General Directorate for Policing Operations at the Traffic and Patrols Directorate, said that up to 77 per cent of accident deaths occur among cars of civilians; ten per cent among trucks, and six per cent among rental cars.

"We found that 25 per cent of accidents happen between 6 and 9 pm; 20 per cent of accidents happen between 3 and 6 pm, some of the reasons being lack of concentration, usage of mobile phones or radio cassettes while driving; jumping red traffic lights, and speeding; 79 per cent of accidents occur on highways, and about six per cent on side streets," said First Lieutenant Bin Thayban.

Speed limit set at 140

Starting on Sunday, the speed limit from Sas Al Nakheel Bridge (in Abu Dhabi) to Saih Al Shoieb (leading to Dubai) will be fixed at 140 km per hour.

Fact file

Following are the number of pedestrian deaths in each region of the emirate in the first three months of the year

In 2010

Abu Dhabi: 25

Al Ain: 7

Western Region: 0

In 2011

Abu Dhabi: 14

Al Ain: 8

Western Region: 2

Source: Ministry of Interior

Comments (33)

  1. Added 19:55 April 17, 2011

    BEFORE CATCHING PEDESTRIAN,PLS PUT A BIG SIGNBOARD ON THE STREETS. LET THE COP EDUCATE PEDESTRIAN. GIVE WARNING FIRST AND SHOW HIMSELF ON THE ROAD.

    FAHID, DUBAI, Portugal

  2. Added 19:27 April 17, 2011

    After reading the news about fines on jawalkers, I too share the same concern like other people who have expressed on this forum. I am just wondering, if these comments do ever get noticed by relevant authorities or just left as mere words. UAE society by far has grown rapidly comparing to other countries in the region, but a lot more needs to be taken care of when it comes to defining parameters of the law. I believe we all want to embrace the law as it will protect every one and not feel it being targeted at a group or being enforced in a society.

    Shahid Butt, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

  3. Added 17:50 April 17, 2011

    Many people don't know about this rule. Fine should be mentioned on streets so people get aware of this thing.

    Waheed Akhtar, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

  4. Added 17:46 April 17, 2011

    Decent overpasses and underpasses are needed, with air conditioning and moving walkways. All drivers should stop at zebra crossings to allow the public to cross..this does not happen. I am both a driver and a pedestrian, and find it so annoying when I stop at a zebra crossing to allow the public to cross, only to be honked at by the cars behind me. As a pedestrian, even when using signalled zebra crossings (such as outside Abu Dhabi Mall), the signal changes before you reach the other side, then you are stranded in the middle island, with traffic speeding past inches away from where you are standing. Sometimes, you have no choice but to jay walk. So, please make the streets suitable for pedestrians before issuing fines.

    Peter Thomson, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

  5. Added 17:03 April 17, 2011

    Pedestrians are not taken into account when areas are being planned and developed. Take Dubai's Metro as an example, since most stations don't have parking there should be easy pedesrian access. Nakheel station cannot be reached without walking on the busy roads. "Green" governments and health-concious governments should put pedestrian consideration first - without imposing restrictions on jaywalkers. People are walking on the roads because they have to do.

    Anthony Wilkinson, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  6. Added 16:42 April 17, 2011

    First repair the broken steel fences along the road and then try to catch any one who climbs over the fence. Its suprising you keep a gap in the fence and then expect no one to pass trough it and if any one passes you catch him even if u just tie a red marking tape no one will pass trough it. for eg there is a gap in the fence opposite NMC Hospital on electra road in Abu dhabi since many years and people use it to cross the road who is at fault the muncipality or the so called jaywalker

    Tony Soares, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

  7. Added 16:31 April 17, 2011

    This is not a solution. This is more trouble to society. How do they expect a common man to go from one side to another side, since is not a car to take an u-turn? They should come up some more constructive options.

    Manjunaath, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  8. Added 16:24 April 17, 2011

    The giving out of fines is only a temporary measure! the main issue is for all zebra crossings to be made compulsory for all traffic to stop and give way to pedestrians. why have them when no one gives you a second to cross??

    david fox, abu dhabi, United Arab Emirates

  9. Added 16:21 April 17, 2011

    All jaywalkers should be heavily penalized. It is so irritating that people crossing the road near Al Wahda Mall in Hazza Bin Zayed street even though the underpass is near by. I think the municipality also responsible for this. Why can't the municipality close those barriers which are open. The ADM should not give any chance to cross the roads by opening those barriers. Hope the new initiatives will reduce the causalities.

    Mohammad Irshad, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

  10. Added 16:15 April 17, 2011

    Foot bridges or pedestrian crossings should be provided on all streets or highways. Residents/citizens should be educated on all levels of the society regarding the different traffic rules/violation. Government should later penalized/punish those who are caught jaywalking as well as motorists who are not following traffic rules. Traffic rules should involve all main roads as well as side streets.

    Farah, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

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