Pedestrians often cross city roads through unauthorised points, avoiding nearby footbridges. How to solve the problem?

peo01Road accidents are increasing everyday. People crossing the busy roads despite the running vehicles have become a common phenomenon. This puts many liabilities on both the people as well as the drivers. In most cases the drivers are helpless. Instead of using the foot over bridge, people jaywalk across the busy roads just to save a few minutes. As soon as the signal turns green drivers hasten to drive their car while people are also in a hurry to cross the roads. Accidents frequently occur at such times. People are not conscious while crossing and the traffic police instead of discouraging people from jaywalking seems completely oblivious.
Throughout the city, though there are over bridges, they remain unused and people frequently use the road to get across. This is why there are frequent road accidents occurring everywhere. In my view, people who jaywalk are responsible for the accidents, because they don’t use the footbridge and the zebra crossing. People usually cross the road waving their hands, but that is illegal. The drivers cannot be blamed for this. While driving if someone suddenly appears in front of their car they usually do not have the necessary time to react. Sometimes drivers are conscious and they can react in time to save the passer by, but other times they fail to stop in time and an accident takes place.
Everyday the city is becoming more and more crowded and most of the footpaths are being occupied by people hanging out on the streets or by the roadside vendors. People have not yet become accustomed to using the foot over bridges. They often jaywalk, sometimes while talking on their mobile phones which is very dangerous and is a prime cause for the frequent accidents. Despite educating ourselves about these issues, we have failed to implement the general traffic laws. People are still not using the underground ways to cross the roads, despite their presence. Some over bridges are very old and there is the added risk of hijacking which discourages some from using them. The common practice of vendors occupying the foot bridges also creates problems in using them. While we are always talking about the problem at hand and giving suggestions to others, we ourselves do not obey the traffic rules and regulations. It is easy to tell others, but very difficult for us to follow them ourselves.
However, the authorities should take the necessary steps to prevent these road accidents. Traffic police and the citizen should be more aware of the problem. Rules and regulations should be followed more strictly. When there is a VIP on the road, the traffic police are very conscious. However, they should be conscious all the time, and make sure no one can jaywalk through the busy roads.  People who break the rules should be punished, possibly via fines. The foot over bridge should be cleared of all vendors. The authorities needs to improve the over bridges to encourage people to use them. The first and most important step is to ensure people are using them. The media should highlight the importance of their use by pointing out the many accidents that are occurring due to jaywalking. The roads in our city should have signs for pedestrians not to jaywalk. Overall this should be practiced by all classes of people. Otherwise the foot over bridge will remain unused and the accidents will continue. It is now time to make your family, friends, colleagues and neighbours conscious about the negative effects of jaywalking.
Anjan Saha
Bangladesh Textile University
In our country, everyone seems to be in a rush regardless of time and day. These hurried movements do not bring to attention the alarming affects of their actions. Although there are foot over bridges built nearby, pedestrians do not use them. They resort to jaywalking even though it is illegal. The masses do not bother about accidents while they cross roads, but when an accident occurs, the whole blame goes on to the driver of the vehicle. We mostly play this blame-game forgetting the severity of the consequences of these accidents. It is simply due to the laziness and negligence of the masses, and nothing else.
There has been a trend that we have been watching for the last 8-10 years that people talk over their mobile phones or listen to something putting earpieces on while they cross the road. This is dangerous and has led to many accidents, yet we have not been able to change our habits. On the one hand we are breaking the law, and on the other we are risking our lives. We are only concerned about reaching our destination on time and nothing else.
Here are a few suggestions to reduce future accidents within the country:
1. We all have some idea about the rush hours therefore, we can at least start a little earlier in order to avoid the hurried movements and thus, utilize foot-over bridges.
2. The law enforcement officers who are assigned with the duties to control traffic must keep keen eyes on the pedestrians and take immediate actions by charging fines for breaking the law.
3. There should be more visible notice boards that can be used for informing the pedestrians NOT to use unauthorized routes to cross roads and furthermore, road signs must be used to direct them to use foot-over bridges.
4. Traffic control officers must be aware whether anyone is breaking the rule or not, rather than being too kind to not to take any actions by taking bribes, which is a very common scenario in Bangladesh.
5. The masses must be made aware that accidents that occur due to such unlawful activities cause unnecessary hassle which sometimes turns into violence on the streets.
Concluding with the hope that every single individual will be made aware of the consequences of breaking the law of our country and thus, they must follow the rules properly, by using foot-over bridges as and where applicable.
This cannot be a successful agenda by any single effort; we all have to put our combined efforts and show respect to the rules and regulations of our country.
Farah Naz Haque
Head of Academics & HR
Cardiff International School Dhaka (CISD)
Dhanmondi, Dhaka

Pedestrians often cross city roads through unauthorised points. The steps required to improve a country can quickly be spread by improving its communication medium. The better its communication systems, the faster people can communicate their ideas for betterment. In Bangladesh, people are swarming to Dhaka city at an alarming rate. This is having a devastating impact on our roads, and traffic is getting worse daily. Unfortunately, this has not resulted in any positive changes via our actions.  We usually revert to blaming our government for the lack of footbridges, however, now we have many footbridges but the people are not using them. We the people are not assisting the government. If things are to improve the people need to work together with the government.
We often have troublemakers causing a ruckus, sometimes bothering women trying to get by. As a result many feel uncomfortable to go near the footbridges. Therefore, the authorities should ensure the footbridges are secured. Another drawback is the footbridges are usually too narrow. When there are many people trying to get across they have to wait in a queue. Hence the bridges must be widened to carry more pedestrians at a time. Furthermore, they have to be spread across the city and placed at locations not too far for the people to walk to.
Newspapers, radios, televisions and the social network can be used to promote their use. They can be used to raise national awareness. The government and the proper authorities can take initiatives to spread awareness within the country. The traffic police should be given the authority to fine people for jaywalking. Overall, the national awareness to its use needs to be increased if we are to improve the situation.
M Sulaiman
Cox’s Bazar Commerce College
Cox’s Bazar.

Road accidents are most common in Bangladesh. We find at least one such news everyday in the daily newspaper. If we ask the question, why are those accidents occurring, there will be many answers. But the main reason for these incidents is right in front of us. We are the ones responsible, and if we are a little more careful these accidents can be prevented.
There are so many over bridges in Bangladesh, but the people of our city are irresponsible and take needless risks frequently. People take these risks only to save time. They do not even think that life is more valuable than time. Our country suffers from vast improper management and our government is responsible for this. We can see it in all the sectors. All the sectors of the government are corrupted. We have traffic police who think traffic problems are the people’s problem, and do not bother to direct traffic. This kind of thinking is an example of their irresponsibility in performing their duty. Now-a-days the duty of some traffic police is only to take bribes from drivers, apart from that they do not do anything.
There is an adage that ‘Ekti durghotona shara jibon kanna’ (one accident brings a lifetime of misery), this sentence is known by everyone, but it does not reflect in their activities. People always say everyone can talk the talk but very few apply it to their actions. In most cases this is true. Stats show, there are about 85.6 road accidents per 10,000 vehicles. Some may be thunderstruck by this, yet many will still cross the busy roads without using the over bridges meant for pedestrians. If I ask why are you all doing this? There will be many answers, but most of them are illogical. However, proper management can definitely rectify many problems in all the sectors. But there is a saying ‘who will bell the cat?’
Nevertheless, there are people who are conscious about preserving their lives. However, most people take the needless risk of crossing without using the over bridges, in order to be present at work in time. Even guardians cross the busy roads with their children without using the over bridges, although they are concerned about the lives of their children. Is this the right way to protect your children? We see organizations bringing out processions only on ‘special days’ to bring attention to this issue, but for the rest of the year they disappear. We have the National Road Safety Council but there are many unanswered questions about their performance and their work.
Right now we are going through life in our beloved city as though we do not know what will happen tomorrow. When we go out we are regularly putting our lives at risk. We all acquiesce to those incidents as well as those accidents. This is not the way to develop our country. We should take heed of all the lives that are being lost daily, and learn from them. We all have a family and we should all be concerned for them as well as ourselves. So let us all make an adjuration and use better judgments when crossing the roads of our city. The government as well as every individual needs to change for a better life, for a better city and for a better country.
Md. Saiful Islam
University of Dhaka

Day by day there has been a rapid increase in the number of vehicles in Dhaka city. Thus, it is getting more and more difficult to get across the roads with so many moving vehicles all the time. The drivers are desperate to get away from the traffic jams they have to be stuck in for long periods of time. Thus, once the signal turns green or they have some free space ahead, they try to get to their destination in a reckless hurry. This reckless speed puts pedestrians trying to cross those roads in tremendous risk. Thus, we need to adapt to using the foot bridges and zebra crossings.
Though the roads in our capital already have quite a few footbridges, it is meager in comparison to our needs. More importantly we need to have footbridges at specific points. Since the footbridges are often far from where they should be, people often neglect in using them. And instead resort to using the busy roads to get across. Moreover, the existing footbridges do not provide enough space for many people at a time. People sometimes have to queue up to use them in very hot conditions. As a result pedestrians are often not bothered to use them, and avoid them willingly.
One solution to these problems is to increase the number of footbridges and place them strategically for more people to use. Traffic police can also be used to direct people to use the footbridges available close by. As a child, I read in my school books we should use the zebra crossings to cross the roads safely. Due to the dire situation, this message should be made more widespread. Textbooks can be a useful tool in educating people about their use. Print and electronic media can play a vigorous role to educate the masses about the necessity of using footbridge, and avoid jaywalking.
Sarder Rafiuzzaman
Rajshahi College, Rajshahi

Pedestrians mostly pass the busy roads without using the foot over bridges in populated Dhaka city. Not only in Dhaka City, but throughout the country this practice is prevalent. Most of the people think that time is more valuable than life, so they try to save their time by crossing the busy roads of the cities.
In the urban areas, there are a number of foot over bridges for the pedestrians to cross the road safely, but unfortunately, people don’t even care enough to use them. The most horrible and dangerous accidents occurs at the time of road crossing in city areas. But people easily forget these scenarios.
To force people to use the foot over bridges, our honorable Government can take some valuable steps, like:-
Government can order the traffic police to do their duty at the side of foot over bridges, so that they can order people to use them.
Government can pass a law related to the use of these foot over bridges and include that under the traffic laws
There must be a fine for the people who refuse to use them, and this should be properly implemented.
Though these rules are very strict and very few people have the ability to pay a large fine, they are necessary as it will act as a deterrent for people to not jaywalk. By following these steps we may be able to reduce the number of road accidents one day.
Shabnam Barsha
School of Law, BRAC University

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