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The newly-opened pedestrian bridge on King Abdulaziz Street in Sharjah. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/ Gulf News

Sharjah: Deaths due to run-over accidents in Sharjah fell 43.5 per cent in the first six months of 2020 compared with the same period last year, Sharjah Police told Gulf News.

Lietunant Colonel Omer Mohammad Bu Ghaneim, Deputy Director of Sharjah Police Traffic and Patrol Department, said a total of 26 deaths were recorded during the first six months of 2020, compared with 46 during the same period in 2019.

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There was also a significant decrease in run-over accidents in the busy areas including Maleiha, Al Dhaid-Sharjah Road, Emirates Road, Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Road and Sharjah Ring Road.

The number of run-over accidents formed 38.4 per cent from the total of traffic accident in Sharjah since the beginning of this year.

Lietunant Colonel Omer Mohammad Bu Ghaneim

Lt Col Bu Ghaneim said that the decline in road accidents was a result of the efforts by the traffic department and its stakeholders.

Abiding by traffic regulations

He stressed that traffic safety was a shared responsibility, and must be handled by all members of the community in order to limit human, financial and material losses. Lt Col Bu Ghaneim also urged motorists as well as pedestrians to abide by traffic regulations for their own safety and that of other road users.

He said the main causes of run-over accidents were lack of attention while driving, speeding, crossing roads from unauthorised areas and lack of awareness among the public about safety rules. Police, under instructions from the Ministry of Interior, have launched awareness campaigns to urge safe pedestrian crossings.

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Jawalkers seen at the Taawuun area of Sharjah. Police have intensified inspections, targeting pedestrians in residential areas as well as vital roads that have commercial establishments on either side. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Police have intensified inspections, targeting pedestrians in residential areas as well as vital roads that have commercial establishments on either side.

Giving priority to pedestrians

He added that traffic police were putting in a lot of effort to ensure the safety of pedestrians and decrease the number of run-over accidents. The department will continue its campaign to warn the public against crossing the road randomly. The police have also advised motorists to follow the law and give priority to pedestrians.

Cyclists have been advised to wear phosphoric jackets and pedestrians urged to use manual traffic signal buttons at designated areas to stop the traffic while crossing roads.

The awareness inspection campaign will continue throughout the year and tips in various languages will be posted on social media platforms.

Motorists, however, blame pedestrians, saying they cross the roads at undesignated places, without watching out for vehicles, and walk while talking on the phone.

Therefore, pedestrian fencing is being installed along the stretches of most major roads in Sharjah in a bid to prevent people from crossing roads at undesignated places. In addition, traffic signals are being installed and zebra crossings marked out prominently on most roads.

Awareness campaign

Sharjah Police have also fined thousands of jaywalkers. They carried out several awareness campaigns to educate the public about the importance of crossing roads only at designated spots. However, people continue to flirt with danger.

Sharjah opens four pedestrian bridges to ensure public safety

Last week, Sharjah Urban Planning Council had announced the opening of four pedestrian bridges in the emirate to improve public safety. The bridges have come up on King Faisal Street, King Abdulaziz Road, Al Ittihad Road and Al Nahda Road.

They were erected to ensure safe movement for pedestrians looking to cross these roads, which usually see a high traffic movement.

26 deaths in first six months of this year

Police fined 2,410 people who were caught jaywalking in the emirate till June this year.

In 2019, a total of 21,243 jaywalkers were fined.

What the law says

Federal Penal Code allows traffic prosecutors to hold the jaywalkers — who cause accidents resulting in injuries or property damage — liable and refer them to court.

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

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