Road safety awareness drive launched for jaywalkers, but people complain of faded zebra crossingsTraffic police have given awareness classes to more than 1,900 jaywalkers over three days.
Last Tuesday, about half a dozen traffic police personnel were deployed to nab jaywalkers. The violators were let off after compulsorily being given a 20-minute road safety class.
A group of people crossed the road from Rani Pokhari. Among them was French citizen Catherine Dauban, 50. For Nepali jaywalkers, a police constable briefed them on a handheld microphone, but for Dauban who would not understand Nepali, Inspector Pradip Thapa briefed in English.
“I didn’t have the intention to cross the road from here, but I saw half a dozen people crossing the road, and I followed them,” said Dauban, regretting her move. She had arrived in Nepal a week ago with the intent of trekking.
“I was scared when the police called me, but it was tough to figure out the zebra crossing,” said the French women.
Over the past three days, the division office has given classes to some 1,943 traffic rule violators. On Tuesday, the second day of the campaign, the traffic police held awareness classes for 610 jaywalkers and 333 on the third day. On Monday, the classes were held in Ratnapark and in front of Bir Hospital.
This is not the first time the traffic police are holding road safety classes. In 2017, the traffic police had come up with a move to punish jaywalkers fining the violators Rs200 each, But after criticism, the then Home Minister Janardan Sharma directed traffic police to withdraw the move. The same drive was implemented in 2018 but without fine. That didn't work.
“There were no zebra crossings, and even the overhead bridges are inadequate,” lamented Anjana, a student, who did not want to share her surname.
When the Post contacted Senior Superintendent Bhim Prasad Dhakal, chief of the Metropolitan Traffic Police Division, he said they have reached out to the Department of Roads for repainting the faded zebra crossings. “We have not fined the jaywalkers, we are just trying to make them aware. More than 60 percent of zebra crossings have faded on the roads,” said Dhakal.
Shibahara Sapkota, spokesperson at the Roads Department, blamed trucks and the level of dust for the fading of zebra crossings. “Because of the ongoing construction work, the trucks ride through the roads and get sand on their wheels, which wipe away the zebra crossings,” he said.
The division has deployed 21 traffic police personnel to control jaywalking in the capital city. Around 40 percent of road accidents happen due to the poor state of road crossings, the traffic police data shows.