Dubai/ Abu Dhabi/ Fujairah: Pedestrians are literally running for their lives as they cross the roads.

The simple task of crossing from one side of the road to another has turned into a deadly game, as pedestrians try to avoid from getting hit by the oncoming traffic.

It was recently reported that nearly 200 pedestrians were killed after being run over by cars in Abu Dhabi between March and November. But what is the main cause for such accidents - is it the lack of zebra crossings, ill-tempered motorists or the pedestrians who are unaware of their surroundings?

Residents said all these factors contributed to pedestrian accidents, but the number could probably be minimised if the authorities took action and built more pedestrian bridges in accident-prone areas.

In a recent Gulf News poll, 22 per cent of respondents said pedestrian deaths were due to a lack of pedestrian crossings, 20 per cent said it was the fault of the pedestrians, and 10 per cent attributed to poor infrastructure. The remaining respondents, at eight per cent, said it was the fault of the drivers, two per cent said there was not enough enforcement, and 38 per cent said the deaths were caused by all of the above.

City Talk took to the streets and asked residents if they think pedestrian deaths are on a rise? Is there is a need for more pedestrian bridges and who is at fault for pedestrian deaths, the jaywalkers or the drivers?

Sarah Arboiz, sales representative, Philippines, 25, said: "The authorities sho-uld build more pedestrian bri-dges. I think that both pedestrians and drivers are at fault because neither of them look where they are going. To reduce the number of such accidents, bus stops should be built closer to buildings."

Imtiaz Karbani, a British consultant, 41, said: "There should be more facilities for pedestrians. The drivers and pedestrians are both responsible for accidents. Pedestrians need to be more observant and motorists should be more alert."

Ashley Lawrence, an Indian engineer, 38, said: "A lot of pedestrian deaths have been happening lately, and I have seen workers dashing across the roads on several occasions. I think that the cause of these accidents is due to the infrastructure as a whole, and the roads need to be changed. There are a lot of traffic jams and that makes it simply impossible to maintain road ethics. Motorists should be more compassionate."

Joy Caparida, a dental hygienist assistant from the Philippines, 42, said: "Pedestrians do not use zebra crossings as much as they should, especially in crowded areas. I blame pedestrians more than drivers when there's an accident. They are given rules and regulations to follow and cross the wrong sides of the road."

Ebrahim Kewayes, an Egyptian car rental agent, said: "We have a problem on some roads because there are not enough crossings. Some drivers travel at high speeds and pedestrians are not confident enough to use the few crossing points available. In most pedestrian accidents, the blame has to fall on both driver and pedestrians. If a pedestrian is crossing the road, drivers must slow down, even if they are doing so from the wrong place. Drivers have to be considerate towards pedestrians, especially women and the elderly."

Subaida Jamaludeen, an Indian receptionist, 47, said: "There are too many people getting run down now and its mostly due to pedestrians not following the rules. However, many people drive carelessly and use their mobiles often while driving and do not focus on the road as much as they should."

Ahmad Hasan, photocopy technician from Egypt, said: "Sometimes people are forced to cross from undesignated areas because of a lack of choice but they have no chance against the drivers who are reckless and inconsiderate. There are some pedestrians who ignore crossings out of laziness or ignorance, and put their lives and that of the motorists in danger. But the majority of them are doing it because they have little choice. There should be more dedicated pedestrian crossings where they will have priority over cars, especially in smaller roads which can also be dangerous for children and families."

Dr Jomana Ramzy Badran, a dentist from Palestine, 35, said: "Easy facilities on roads encourage people to drive fast and pedestrians suddenly appear in front of cars while crossing a road. That is exactly why I personally try to avoid driving on the maximum left side of the road, in fear that someone would show up in front of my car. Signals are also very long and pedestrians do not have enough space at pedestrian crossings to pass from one road to another, as everything is too condensed."

Your comments

I had encountered pedestrians on roundabouts where the driver could not have control because he could not see the other side. What if a person suddenly comes out in front of your car? Pedestrians should make sure that there are no cars coming when they cross roads.
Soheb Shaikh
Posted: November 30, 2008, 11:08

I have seen pedestrians crossing the road under pedestrian bridges, being too lazy to climb the stairs and instead preferring to use the bridge as shade. It is no wonder there is a high accident rate.
Posted: November 30, 2008, 10:48