Schoolteacher dies after being run over at zebra crossing

- Anup Ojha, Kathmandu
Drivers who do not slow down for pedestrians at zebra crossing to be fined Rs500 every instance

Jun 7, 2017-Twenty-three-year-old Rabina Chaudhari of Dhapashi died after being hit by a bus while using a zebra crossing near the BP Smriti Hospital in Basundhara, Kathmandu, on Monday.

Chaudhari, a teacher at the Paanchyan Secondary School in Basundhara, was heading for duty at 9:30am when she was hit by a bus arriving from Birgunj, according to the Metropolitan Police Circle, Maharajgunj.

She was pronounced dead at the Maharajgunj-based Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital.

The incident comes at a time when police are penalising pedestrians for crossing the road haphazardly, especially by not using the zebra crossing. But there are reports, like this one, of drivers not waiting for people to cross the road even from designated places.

Two months ago, a former government secretary died after being hit by a two-wheeler at Anamnagar while he was crossing the road at a zebra crossing. Last year, a student was hit by a public vehicle at a zebra crossing in Tinkune, Kathmandu.

People complain that while the rule against jaywalkers is being enforced, traffic police are not concerned about pedestrian safety. Worryingly, more than 40 percent zebra crossing marks in Kathmandu need to be repainted.

“Drivers do not let us cross the road. In fact, they drive recklessly even at the zebra crossing,” said Sanjeev Bhattarai, a Maharajgunj resident.

Town planner Kishore Thapa said traffic police need to run a campaign to make drivers aware of the need to stop at zebra crossing when pedestrians are using it. Overhead bridges, traffic lights and subways are essential at crowded intersections as in Tripureshwor and New Baneshwor. According to the traffic police, barely a dozen overhead bridges exist in Kathmandu Valley. Only five traffic lights are operational.

The Department of Roads is responsible for repairing the defunct traffic lights and re-painting the faded zebra crossings. DoR officials responded that they are working to upgrade and rearrange these facilities.

Mingmar Lama, chief of the Metropolitan Traffic Police Division, said traffic police will charge drivers who do not slow down at the zebra crossing Rs500 per instance. “We’ve already come up with the decision,” said Lama.

Data for the current fiscal year show pedestrians account for 42 percent of road fatalities.


Published: 07-06-2017 07:52

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