By A Staff Reporter,Kathmandu, Mar. 18: Almost everywhere, pedestrians are seen crossing the roads wherever they feel comfortable rather than walking a little forward or backward to the properly designated places, such as zebra crossings or overhead bridges.
According to the Traffic Police, since there is no law in place to penalise a pedestrian on the charge of not crossing a road through designated crossing points, they were only left with the option of requesting pedestrians to not jaywalk.
Earlier, in 2017, Kathmandu Valley's Traffic Police had started penalising jaywalkers Rs. 200 to Rs. 1,000 under Section 160 (3) of the Motor Vehicles and Transport Management Act, 1993, along with a two-hour awareness lesson on road discipline.
However, the step couldn’t continue for more than a couple of days in the wake of growing chorus of criticism from public.
Nevertheless, since jaywalkers are at major risk of accidents in the Kathmandu Valley, the Kathmandu Valley Traffic Police Office (KVTPO) has started to make jaywalkers aware on the spot from March 15.
"In less than nine months of the current fiscal year 2022/23, 40 pedestrians have died in road mishaps within the valley. In the last fiscal year 2021/22, 58 pedestrians had died," read a statement from the KVTPO on Wednesday.
Traffic police across the valley can be seen calling jaywalkers and making them aware of the dangers of crossing the roads from undesignated places.
"While traffic rule violators only fear fine, there is no fine system enforced for jaywalkers. However, we cannot sit idly by. We have started requesting jaywalkers to use zebra crossings and overhead bridges to cross roads," said Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Rajendra Prasad Bhatta, spokesperson for the KVTPO.
On the campaign's first day on Wednesday, 637 jaywalkers were made aware of the risks of jaywalking, informed the KVTPO.
"Bicyclists also ride in an unsafe manner as they feel that they need not follow lane system, one-way rule, and traffic lights. Since they also don’t have lights and mirrors, bicyclists need to ride more attentively. It is why we are making them aware as well," said a traffic police officer after educating a bicyclist trying to cross the intersection in New Baneshwor Chowk in an unsafe manner on Thursday morning.
According to officers, bicyclists flout traffic rules rampantly as there is no provision to penalise them. On Wednesday, 193 bicyclists were educated regarding the importance of following traffic rules.
The KVTPO informed that they would continue to make people aware so that the roads of Kathmandu will be safer for all.