Singapore

LTA looks at making crossings safer for pedestrians

This follows incidents where some who had right of way were hit by vehicles

Even as jaywalking-related accidents have risen, recent cases of cars knocking down pedestrians who had the right of way bring into question the safety of designated crossings.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) is taking steps to rectify this for at least one such crossing.

On July 28, a driver in a Mercedes-Benz car knocked down a young woman who had the right of way at a crossing in North Buona Vista Road.

Dashboard camera footage of the incident, shared on social media site SingaporeGo, shows the woman being flung to the tarmac, but she gets up soon after. It is not known how badly she was hurt.

An incident elsewhere proved fatal.

On Aug 26, retiree Sunny Yeo, 72, was pushing his 89-year-old mother Violet Tan on a wheelchair across Punggol East Road.

At this junction, vehicles in Punggol Central share the same green time as pedestrians on Punggol East Road, and drivers are expected to give way to pedestrians who are crossing.

But a driver in a Toyota did not, colliding with Madam Tan and running over Mr Yeo's foot. Madam Tan was hospitalised at Tan Tock Seng Hospital but died three weeks later.

"My mother really suffered a lot," Mr Yeo said. "If I had crossed just seconds later, my mum would still be alive now."

The police said they are investigating the case, and Mr Yeo said he is also seeking legal counsel.

Statistics have also shown that there is a larger decline in pedestrian incidents as well as multi-vehicle crashes when green time is not shared. Automobile Association of Singapore president Bernard Tay

He said he feels that at such a big junction, vehicles must be made to stop when there are pedestrians crossing.

"I am not sure how it can be done, but it should be done," he added.

In response to queries from The Straits Times, the LTA said it will be painting turning pockets at the junction to remind motorists to pause and look out for pedestrians.

It added that it would work with the Traffic Police to see if other enhancements are required.

It also said that both motorists and pedestrians must do their part to ensure their own safety on the road.

This echoes a Court of Appeal ruling last year.

In a two-to-one decision, the court assigned 15 per cent blame to a pedestrian who was injured in an accident even though the lights were in his favour.

Meanwhile, there are junctions where crossing pedestrians and turning vehicles do not share the same green time.

The LTA said this was for junctions where motorists' view is obstructed.

Observers said this difference may cause confusion.

Automobile Association of Singapore president Bernard Tay said it was best to "de-conflict the green time for turning vehicles and crossing pedestrians" at all junctions.

He said: "Overseas researchers have shown that pedestrians are better protected with the implementation of split-phase lights. Statistics have also shown that there is a larger decline in pedestrian incidents as well as multi-vehicle crashes when green time is not shared."

Motoring magazine Torque editor David Ting said junctions where pedestrians and turning vehicles share the same green time are "riskier".

But he added that "inconsistent application of the shared green time poses a safety problem only if the driver has poor situational awareness or drives without due care and consideration for other road users".

"The safe driver would look out for pedestrians at every traffic junction, whether or not it has shared green time," he noted.

Last week, the Traffic Police said there were 161 accidents involving jaywalkers in the first six months of this year, up from 133 in the same period last year and 109 for the corresponding period in 2015.

According to past statistics, 620 pedestrians were killed in road accidents between 2004 and last year.

This makes pedestrians the most vulnerable group after motorcyclists and their pillion riders, who chalked up 1,139 deaths in the same 13-year period.

accidentTraffic ViolationsLand Transport Authority