Pedestrian deaths take toll

Photo: Stock.

Bakwena has reported a 400 percent increase in pedestrian fatalities along its roads.

The N1-N4 toll road operator east to north of Pretoria said 15 pedestrians had died in accidents on its freeways between January and May.

“This is a 400 percent increase from the same period last year,” said commercial manager, Liam Clarke.

ALSO READ: NEWSFLASH: N1 backed up due to accident 

Arrive Alive recorded 14 050 deaths on South Africa’s roads last year, a 0.1 percent decrease from 2016, according to Arrive Alive.

“The most affected road users were pedestrians and passengers.”

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Clarke said the spike in pedestrian deaths was highly disturbing.

He said pedestrians needed to know that crossing a freeway was illegal and dangerous.

“They should rather use the bridges built for them.

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“Motor vehicles travel up to 120km/h on the freeway. Motorists do not expect pedestrians on the road and cannot stop in time if someone suddenly appears in front of them. The result is almost always fatal.”

Clarke said most of the fatalities since occurred on the N4 near Bapong (North West), which indicated that locals were not using the pedestrian bridges erected to ensure they could cross the freeway safely.

ALSO READ: NEWSFLASH: Two killed in accident in the west 

In March, Bakwena and other stakeholders ran a road safety campaign to encourage pedestrians to follow the rules of the road for their own safety.

“We partnered with ER24, Imperial Logistics and North West department of community safety and transport management. The event was held at Ke Ya Rona Mall in Bapong,” said Clarke.

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Clarke said Bakwena was aware the bridges were sometimes regarded as unsafe by pedestrians fearing muggers.

“In this respect, we provide residents with tips on how to keep safe by walking in groups and avoidng secluded areas at night. Our disaster management team also patrols the bridges in the mornings and late afternoons to ensure children get to and from school safely.”

Another measure aimed at discouraging pedestrians from crossing was fencing the freeway.

“Unfortunately, these are often vandalised, leaving gaps for pedestrians to get through,” Clarke said.

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Nearly half of the deaths on the roads were , according to the company.

According to national roads operator Sanral, about 70 percent of adult pedestrians killed were under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

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  AUTHOR
Thato Mahlangu

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