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They Take to Road Like Moths to Flame

Published: 18th August 2014 07:55 AM  |   Last Updated: 18th August 2014 07:55 AM   |  A+A-

18like.jpgKOCHI: The death of two sisters here after being hit by a private bus on Saturday has given credence to the fact that pedestrians are not safe on Kerala roads. Numbers from the National Transportation Planning and Research Centre show that about 40 per cent of those killed in accidents in Kerala are pedestrians. This is much higher than the national average, which is only 8 per cent. According to the NATPAC statistics, in 2013, 1,46,674 people were killed in accidents in the country of which 10,473 (7.14 per cent) were pedestrians. Whereas in Kerala, 4,151 people were killed in accidents of which 1761 (38.34 per cent) were pedestrians. While the national average of pedestrian death due to accidents has come down in the last five years, in Kerala it has seen an alarming increase. In 2009, pedestrians formed 4.76 per cent of the total number of persons killed in accidents in the country. The percentage went up to 8.74 in 2010, 9.03 in 2011, 8.7 in 2012, 7.14 in 2013. The projected percentage for 2014 is 6.21. Comparing these numbers with that of the state, in 2009, 22.64 per cent of the total number of persons killed in accidents were pedestrians. The percentage rose to 27.82 in 2010, 32.81 in 2011, 31.38 in 2012, 38.34 in 2013. The projected percentage for 2014 is 41.22. NATPAC studies point out speeding of vehicles, absence of railings on footpaths, encroachment by vendors and vehicles parked on pedestrian space, lack of footbridges and subways as major reasons for accidents involving pedestrians. Senior scientist and head of Extension Services and Traffic Safety division at NATPAC, G Ravikumar says out of the total stretch of roads in Kerala, which is about 2 lakh km, only about 26,000 km are motorable. “Pedestrians, cyclists and two-wheelers form about 70 per cent of road accident victims. This is because the roads are not wide enough to accommodate this group effectively,” he said. Several decisions taken to make roads in the state pedestrian- friendly, like training student police cadets to help pedestrians cross safely, establishing wide footpaths with railings and widening of roads, providing a priority lane for buses and heavy vehicles are still on paper. According to Ravikumar, buses which comprise only 3 per cent of the total vehicle population, cause 28 per cent of accident deaths.

 

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