Top Dubai cop says pedestrians responsible for most road deaths

Dubai’s roads are not well prepared for safe usage by pedestrians and this has led to a sharp rise in deaths caused by illegal crossing by road users, the emirate’s traffic police chief was reported on Tuesday as saying.

Major General Mohammed Al Zafin said pedestrians are to blame for nearly 95 per cent of run-over accidents in the city of nearly two million people.

He told the Arabic language daily Al Bayan that seven people were killed on Dubai roads over a period of eight days, an average of one death every day, describing this as an “alarming rate.”

He said such accidents on Emirates Road increased to 42 in the first quarter of 2012 from 34 in the first quarter of 2011. Sheikh Zayed Road also witnessed an increase in such mishaps to 36 from 27 in the same period, he said.

“There is a clear absence of any traffic culture among pedestrians…most drivers normally do not stop for pedestrians as a civilized or responsible behavior…  the problem is that most of the roads in Dubai are not well prepared for pedestrians and cyclist, except Jumeira area…the competent authorities in the emirate should take measures to tackle this problem,” he said.

Zafin said Dubai traffic police has just launched a drive entitled “cross safely”, targeting pedestrians to educate them on the safe use of roads, adding that it would continue until July 8.

“Drivers should be more careful and should expect that pedestrians do not stop as they start crossing a road…but pedestrians should also abide by laws and refrain from crossing any road where the speed limit is more than 80 km per hour….they must use the assigned crossings and expect that drivers might notice them…this behavior will reduce deaths on roads.”

Zafin said pedestrian crossings without a signal could be an “accident trap” mainly on internal roads. He said lined crossings do not compel motorists to stop nor do they give pedestrians the right to cross at any time, especially at night.

“Most of the run-over accidents on motorways, such as Emirates Road, take place either in the morning or at night when workers cross the road in a random or irresponsible manner…I don’t think Emirates Road needs any flyovers because it is not a services street,” he said.

“I am surprised to see many workers standing on both sides of that road ready to cross almost every day…their companies must provide buses for these workers to transport them to the other side safely….as for Sheikh Zayed Road, there is a need to construct flyovers in same areas since they support certain services like restaurants, banks, hotels and shopping malls.”

[Image via Shutterstock]

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