Thimphu has recently experienced a worrying surge in the number of pedestrian road accidents, posing a grave concern for public safety. The police division’s data shows a significant increase, with the number of cases rising from 10 in 2022 to 18 as of July 12, 2023. Most distressingly, six of these incidents occurred on zebra crossings, indicating a failure in ensuring the safety of pedestrians at designated crossing points.

The recent tragedy involving the death of a 57-year-old woman underscores the urgency of addressing this issue promptly. It is imperative that we take immediate action to prevent further loss of lives and ensure the safety of all road users.

The rise in pedestrian accidents in in the capital demands a thorough examination of the contributing factors. Several elements may be at play, and understanding these root causes is crucial in formulating effective solutions. A lack of awareness among pedestrians about road safety measures, such as using designated crossings and adhering to traffic rules, could be a contributing factor to the increasing accident rate. Education and awareness campaigns can help in promoting responsible pedestrian behaviour.

The increase in traffic volume might be overwhelming the existing traffic management systems, leading to chaotic conditions on the roads. Proper traffic flow management and strategic deployment of traffic police at critical points can alleviate this issue. The involvement of speeding and reckless driving in these accidents cannot be ignored. Enforcing strict penalties for traffic violations and intensifying road safety awareness campaigns for drivers are essential steps to curb such dangerous behaviour.

The design and maintenance of roads and crossings play a significant role in ensuring pedestrian safety. Identifying hazardous spots and promptly repairing or redesigning them to meet safety standards is vital. Conduct thorough assessments of roads and crossings to identify potential hazards and areas requiring immediate improvement.

The alarming increase in pedestrian accidents calls for swift and decisive action from all stakeholders. Every life lost on the roads is a tragedy that could have been prevented. As a society, it is our moral duty to ensure the safety of all road users, particularly vulnerable pedestrians. The government, law enforcement agencies, educational institutions, and citizens must unite in a collective effort to implement immediate measures and strategies to curb this rising trend.

We cannot afford to ignore this pressing issue any longer. By prioritising road safety, investing in public awareness, and enforcing strict traffic regulations, we can create a safer environment for all. Let the recent tragedy be a catalyst for change, and let us work to build a city where pedestrians can traverse roads with confidence and peace of mind.