Student’s death once again raises concern about road safetyA 19-year-old girl died after being hit by a vehicle at Jawalakhel early Wednesday morning.
Tension ran high in the Jawalakhel area on Wednesday afternoon as students took to the streets to protest against the death of a girl after being hit by a vehicle early in the morning.
The Mahindra Bolero jeep (Sa 1 Ja 567) hit Anju Dahal, 19, a bachelor’s level student at Koteshwor Multiple Campus, at around 5:15 am, according to SSP Kiran Bajracharya, chief of the Metropolitan Police Range, Lalitpur.
She was rushed to Patan Hospital where she was pronounced dead at around 6am, said Bajracharya.
After learning about the incident, students from her college gathered at Jawalakhel demanding strong action against the driver. The irate students also obstructed vehicular movement in and around the Jawalakhel area.
Police have taken the driver into custody.
“It looks like the driver was in a hurry to pick up passengers and the speeding vehicle hit the girl while she was trying to cross the road,” said Bajracharya. “An investigation is underway.”
This is the second death in traffic accident in the Jawalakhel area in less than two weeks.
On February 22, a 23-year-old girl had died after her scooter was hit by a bus in front of the Jawalakhel ground.
What happened to Dahal and the other girl is not an anomaly. Every year, there are hundreds of cases where pedestrians are struck down by speeding vehicles.
The data provided by Metropolitan Traffic Police shows that from the fiscal year 2018/19 to 2020/21, a total of 510 people lost their lives. Of them, 177 were pedestrians.
In 2019 December, when Lila Devkota, a pedestrian, was killed by a drunk driver at Budhanilkantha.
The incident drew a huge outpouring of public criticism on social media for months. Following the case, it was expected that the authorities would take stringent measures to control pedestrian deaths caused by reckless drivers.
But little has changed since. Of the total 510 road fatalities in the past three years, 328—or 64.3 percent—involved people below the age of 35, according to traffic police data.
According to SSP Shyam Krishna Adhikari, spokesperson for the Metropolitan Traffic Police Office, the major reasons for pedestrian deaths are lack of proper lighting on roads and speed.
“Sometimes, pedestrians do not use zebra crossings or pedestrian bridges, which results in such accidents,” Adhikari told the post.
Traffic engineers do not agree with the police though.
“It's not always speeding vehicles or pedestrian fault that cause accidents,” said Ashish Gajurel, a transportation and traffic engineer.
“The roads across the country are not pedestrian friendly. While building infrastructure, our government gives priority to wide roads but not to footpaths.”
Lack of pedestrian bridges, zebra crossings and traffic lights, are also the cause of such accidents, said Gajurel.
Anup Ojha contributed reporting.