x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Jaywalker folly

It's hard to feel sorry for a jaywalker who won't bother to climb a few stairs.

Gleaming in the sunshine, new pedestrian overpasses arch over Airport Road near 25th Street and over Muroor Road near Defence Road. They're graceful and sturdy, they were expensive and they are almost empty at all hours.

You can't blame city planners for scratching their heads in puzzlement: most pedestrians evidently prefer the risk of jaywalking in traffic, The National reported yesterday, to climbing a few stairs to cross in safety. You can lead a walker to the overpass, but you cannot make him climb.

Several readers' letters on this page show the level of interest in this subject, and demonstrate a range of options. Constant police presence to fine jaywalkers would plainly not be practical on every long dangerous block in the city. Considering the frequency of unnecessary, often fatal, accidents, complacency is not an option either.

Better maintenance of median fences might help, along with construction of some new ones. But sections of fencing do seem to get knocked down quite often, somehow, and often right around mid-block.

People who won't even climb a flight of stairs to assure their safety will not be kept safe by fences nor jaywalking tickets nor any other dissuasive measures. This is really about personal responsibility.

And, of course, speeding drivers also have to be responsible on the roads.