Pedestrians to be held accountable too

A growing number of motor vehicle accidents involving pedestrians has raised concerns about pedestrian safety.

In the current year, there have been a total of 27 motor vehicle accidents involving pedestrians, with 13 occurring in Thimphu and 14 in other dzongkhags. Similarly, 36 motor vehicle accidents involving pedestrians was recorded in 2022, with 11 in Thimphu and 25 in other dzongkhags. In 2021, there were 39 accidents, with 15 in Thimphu and 24 in other areas. The year 2020 saw 36 accidents, with 18 in Thimphu and the same number in other areas.

Superintendent of Traffic Division, Colonel Chencho Gyeltshen, emphasized the division’s efforts to raise awareness among citizens about pedestrian safety. He highlighted the importance of utilizing pedestrian crossings when available, and called on individuals to make the best use of them.

Colonel Gyeltshen also mentioned that the Traffic Division, in collaboration with Thromde, Bhutan Construction and Transport Authority (BCTA), and the Department of Surface Transport, conducted visits to monitor pedestrian areas and highways, making recommendations for necessary pedestrian infrastructure.

“The presence of unnecessary pedestrians near roadways has been identified as a cause of traffic congestion. To address this issue, traffic police have been deployed in Thromde core areas to prevent such cases. Additionally, individuals are advised to avoid standing in pedestrian areas to reduce congestion. Citizens are also regularly reminded to refrain from using mobile phones while crossing roads and to be aware of approaching vehicles”.

“The need for infrastructure improvements, such as the construction of the Olakha passer way bridge and underground tunnels near the swimming pool area, has been recognized. However, complaints have been made about the poor condition of the underground tunnels, including unreadable graffiti and flooding during rainy periods.”

Further he said, “The Traffic Division earnestly requests all road users to prioritize pedestrian safety, exercise patience on the road, and refrain from suddenly running into pedestrian areas based solely on their right of way. It is important to note that no motor vehicle drivers have intentions to cause accidents, but the carelessness of road users can lead to unfortunate consequences.”

Compensation claims and accident grievances will be addressed by the court, although the Traffic Division handles cases where both parties can reach a resolution.

According to the BCTA Rules and Regulations 2021, pedestrians are expected to follow certain rules to ensure their safety. These rules include not endangering oneself or others by moving into the path of an oncoming vehicle, not crossing a road if there is a pedestrian crossing within 20 meters, crossing the road using the shortest and most direct route, not unreasonably obstructing traffic, using available footpaths when possible, walking as close to the edge of the road as practical, not walking more than two abreast, and not attempting to board a moving vehicle. Pedestrians are also advised to face oncoming traffic when walking along footpaths, to the extent that it is practicable.

If a motor vehicle accident is caused by the carelessness of a pedestrian, resulting in death, injury, or property damage, the pedestrian shall be held liable for compensation unless proven otherwise. Conversely, a person driving a motor vehicle will be held responsible for the death or injury of a pedestrian if the accident is caused by the pedestrian’s carelessness.

In conclusion, it is crucial to prioritize pedestrian safety and adhere to traffic rules and regulations to prevent motor vehicle accidents and protect the well-being of all road users.

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One comment

  1. There should be more awareness related to the zebra crossing because sometimes the pedestrians just walk without showing any intentions and make the drivers break hard. And pedestrians should cross the road as quickly as possible. There has been many incidents happening to me as i had to break as people think they have the right of way when crossing the road and walking very slowly.

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