Strive to protect all pedestrians to ensure road safety


Pedestrians walking on the newly created walkways along Kenyatta Avenue. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

Every road user is and will always be a pedestrian at one point in the day because all road transport journeys, no matter how short, begin and end with walking.

Pedestrians should strive to use available safe pedestrian crossing points and always be visible on the road. By simply wearing bright, light-coloured clothing or reflective strips, especially in low-light or dark hours, it reduces the risk of being hit by a motorist.

Other measures pedestrians should take into account include avoiding jaywalking, being aware of the surroundings, removing distractions such as phones among others.

The National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) in addressing road safety informational gaps, has been running the Usalama barabarani campaign that advocates attitude and behaviour change among road users including pedestrians.

The Authority has been working in collaboration with various private and public entities to drive the campaign agenda. Through continuous education with the support of various stakeholders and placing emphasis on personal responsibility, injuries and deaths among pedestrians may be reduced significantly.

Today walking is highly popular owing to its health and environmental benefits but our roads remain largely unsafe for most pedestrians. Pedestrians face high risks of injuries due to speeding vehicles, lack of safe infrastructure, invisibility while on the roads as well as jaywalking.

It is therefore important that we have in place measures that will address these risks, shortfalls and keep pedestrians safe on our roads. This also calls for behaviour change among pedestrians to further reduce the risk of death and injuries.  

Risks of pedestrian injuries and deaths are highest in urban areas because of the high concentration of human and vehicular traffic and a lot of effort should be placed on pedestrian safety.   

Studies have identified some of the key risk factors for pedestrian injury including lack of adequate road infrastructure as well as limited information on personal responsibility.

Infrastructure facilities and traffic control mechanisms that separate pedestrians from motor vehicles and enable pedestrians to cross safely are important to ensure pedestrian safety.

Available pedestrian crossings must remain safe for use and plans are underway to enhance them with features such as bumps or rumble strips and traffic signals that help reduce vehicle speeds.  

To protect pedestrians, especially children, motorists must desist from engaging in practices that may inhibit their cognitive and physical ability, such that he or she reduces concentration and judgment while on the road.

Pedestrians must also strive to remain visible to motorists, especially pedestrians, especially at dawn, dusk, and at night when lighting is poor. 

The writer is deputy director corporate communication, National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA)