x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

New push for pedestrian and cyclist safety

Failure to consider pedestrians is second-biggest cause of crashes.

ABU DHABI // The safety of pedestrians and cyclists is a top concern in the capital, municipality officials say.

Failure to consider pedestrians is the second-highest cause of crashes after the use of mobile phones while driving in the emirate.

Last week, Abu Dhabi Executive Council promised funding for the Safety and Traffic Solutions Committee to improve pedestrian and cyclist safety. Further details have yet to be released.

And the safety of people on foot and on bikes is already the priority in the municipality's Road Safety Project, now in its implementation stage.

"We are not only focused on drivers," Sami Almusawi, a road safety unit head for Abu Dhabi Municipality said in October. "We have started an action plan to start implementation. We will start the relocation of some of the hazards, improving the pedestrian facilities."

Initiatives include more space for pedestrians on islands, fewer roadside hazards and ground-level curbs at crossings.

"For example, we have improper pedestrian crossings in some of the main roads," he said. "We are going to improve them by putting a mid-block crossing, closing them with fencing."

Nine pedestrian crossings were scheduled for completion by 2011. The Abu Dhabi Government would not comment on the timetable for completion of the crossings.

Muroor Road, Airport Road and Khaleej Al Arabi Street are marked as black spots, largely because of their lack of safety for pedestrians.

To match infrastructure development, the Government is creating an Abu Dhabi road code for all road users.

Traffic enforcement has become stricter to ensure that drivers give pedestrians right-of-way or risk a fine of Dh500 and six black points.

Police have also toughened their stance on jaywalking, which carries a Dh200 fine in the capital.

From May, jaywalkers with outstanding fines are not allowed to leave the country.

 

azacharias@thenational.ae

 

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