The number of pedestrians killed on the Western Cape's roads is horrendous, according to the Chief Director of Road and Safety Co-ordination in the Western Cape, Hector Elliot. He says a large number of those killed on the road are children, specifically young boys.
The majority of pedestrians are killed on urban roads where you have a 60km/h speed limit and we also have a large number of pedestrians killed on freeways. The reason behind this vary a lot and we have a large number of child pedestrians that are killed, specifically, young boys aged between five and 11. They are most likely to be killed in the afternoon during the week and on Saturdays. We have a large number of young males killed between the ages of 19 and 29, and up to 39 years. This issue proportionally affects poor communities.
In terms of actions to be taken Elliot says it revolves around the four Es:
Evaluation – have a clear understanding of the situation
Education – Communicating road safety messages to road users
Enforcement – Traffic police enforcing the rules of the road
- Engineering – ensuring a safer environment for pedestrians
Fred in Somerset West is concerned that no strict measures are in place to clamp down on pedestrians crossing busy highways. He argues that if authorities curbed that problem, motorists would be able to drive faster and safely along those stretches.
According to Elliot, every pedestrian has a role to play and in Cape Town it all boils down to rapid organisation and informality. With children, in particular, he said they have no place to play in the afternoons and that’s the reason they end up in the streets.
Elliot also spoke about the behaviour of motorists which intensifies problems on the roads; the issue of drinking and driving, speeding and the use of cell phones while driving.