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File picture of jaywalkers crossing Al Ittihad Road in Sharjah Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Sharjah: More than 2,200 jaywalkers were fined in Sharjah during 2021, police have revealed.

The figure decreased compared to 2020 as Sharjah Police intensified efforts to increase road and pedestrian safety, while strictly issuing fines to jaywalkers.

Captain Saud Al Shaiba, spokesperson for the police’s Traffic and Patrol Department, told Gulf News that Sharjah Police issued fines to 2,213 people who were caught jaywalking in 2021. The figure is much lower than 2020, when 5,954 jaywalkers were fined; while in 2019 a total of 21,243 jaywalkers were fined.

Sharjah Police have identified jaywalking as a serious issue and launched an inspection campaign targeting pedestrians who cross roads from non-designated points.

Awareness campaigns

Police started issuing fines after the end of several awareness campaigns rolled out under the theme ‘Your Safety is our goal...cross safely’. Capt Al Shaiba said jaywalking carries a Dh400 fine and it is punishable under the UAE Traffic Law.

“It’s important that all road users understand the risks of violating safety rules while crossing or walking on the road, and learn how to stay safe,” he added, pointing out that pedestrians are the most vulnerable ones on the road. “Pedestrians are advised to cross roads from the zebra crossing only or from the pedestrian bridges, otherwise they will face fines.

Fewer deaths

The number of run-over accidents formed 28 per cent of the total traffic accidents in Sharjah in 2021. According to Sharjah Police statistics, a total of 38 deaths occurred due to run-over accident during 2021, compared to 88 deaths in 2020.

Capt Al Shaiba said the decline was the result of efforts of various traffic departments and their stakeholders. Sharjah Police have also stepped up patrolling on the roads.

Jaywalkers liable

Pedestrians are repeatedly advised not to cross highways with speed limits of more than 80km/h because they could be held liable for any accidents resulting from their behaviour, said Capt Al Shaiba. The Federal Penal Code allows traffic prosecutors to hold jaywalkers who cause accidents resulting in injuries or property damage liable and refer them to court.

Meanwhile Article 69 of the code imposes a fine of Dh500 and six traffic black points on motorists for not giving the priority to pedestrians at designated crossing spots, while Article 59 imposes a Dh500 fine for parking at pedestrian crossings.

Article 65 of the law calls for a Dh400 fine for stopping the vehicle in a manner that causes danger to jaywalkers or impedes the movement of pedestrians.

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Capt Al Shaiba stressed that traffic safety is a shared responsibility, and must be ensured by all members of the community in order to limit human, financial and material losses.

He also urged motorists and pedestrians to abide by traffic regulations for their own safety and that of other road users.