Recently in the month of August, 2015, a student of one of the higher institutions in Ibadan city, Oyo state, Nigeria, was knocked down by a vehicle on his way to campus. I learned that this was not the first incident in the area. One of the students of the school told me that the victim was the only son and the only child of the family. What a pity!
However, when I visited the area of the incident, I discovered that the campus is located beside an expressway (a busy road) that links two states together in the country and I also, discovered that the road lacks the necessary desirable safety facilities for pedestrians. For more understanding, the following are the conditions of the said road:
- No any pedestrian footpaths for the students,
- No traffic island or median divider between opposite direction traffic in order to reduce the head collision between two vehicles in the area,
- No any traffic sign or signal for motorists or road users, and
- No single bond in the front of the campus to limit or reduce the speed of those drivers who think speed limit is just a mere suggestion.
- No zebra-crossing for the students, therefore, most students end up crossing the road at will.
However, it is important to note that, the risk of pedestrians is high when they share the same road with vehicles traveling at a fast speeds. This explains why the student was knocked down by a vehicle. Since the road lacks necessary safety facilities for pedestrians, I wonder if such ugly incident will not repeat itself again.
According to National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA), estimated that total pedestrian death in U.S was 4, 432 in 2011. In the same year it was estimated that 69, 000 pedestrians were injured while 11,000 of those injured were age 14 and younger (NHTSA).
According to the WHO reports in 2010, road traffic injuries are the leading cause of death among young people.
A report also shows that more than 57% pedestrians in 4 cities were killed in South Africa. Another report also shows that roads in low and middle income countries in Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe, and Latin America revealed that 84% of the roads surveyed had no pedestrian footpaths though they carried motor vehicle traffic moving at 40km/h or more.
Pedestrian and Pedestrianization defined
Pedestrian is a person who walks around on the road rather than moving around in a vehicle. One of the medical tips is that walking around is good for human health, therefore, it is important to protect the pedestrian from undesirable vehicle. The question is how can we protect pedestrians from the moving vehicle? Pedestrianization is the answer; it is a restriction of vehicle access to an area designed for walking.
Pedestrian infrastructure is important because it increases the pedestrian’s safety and mobility while reducing the access of undesirable vehicles. Since, road traffic fatalities and injuries consume a lot of financial resources if it happens hence; the importance of pedestrian facility cannot be over emphasized in our society.
Finally, a report shows that those that are killed on road across the globe, about half of the fatalities constitute vulnerable road users (WHO, 2009), and pedestrians are part of Vulnerable Road Users (VRU). Therefore, a road design that lacks pedestrian facility creates a great risk for pedestrians. Since, everyone is a pedestrian hence; a desirable safety facility for all of us is of paramount importance.