Sherab Lhamo and Suraj Gurung

Thimphu has witnessed an increase in the  number of pedestrian road accidents  compared with the previous year, according to the data collected by the police division.

As of July 12, the number of cases had risen from 10 in 2022 to 18, with 6 cases  happening on zebra crossings from 2021-2023, raising concerns and questions among the public.

On July 12, a 57-year-old woman was killed after being hit by a car while crossing the Babesa-Thimphu highway around 6:30pm. According to the police, the driver was not under any kind of substance influence.

The driver has been  detained and police are still investigating.

In a CCTV footage recovered by the police, the deceased was seen crossing the road from the road divider with visibility obstructed by hedges on the road divider.

However, police emphasise that drivers are aware of pedestrians using the dividers as crossing points and still choose to speed, leading to frequent accidents.

The police said that they have kept the driver under custody as there is a possibility of him running away, however, he has the right to  bail out. 

Taxi drivers and pedestrians claim that the hedges on the road dividers are major reasons for the frequent accidents.

As the case is still under investigation, the police said the driver who was driving a spark car was arrested under speeding charges, but is not yet confirmed.

The police stated that drivers along the highway know that there are pedestrians crossing the road, but they still speed up, leading to the accidents.

Similarly, on July 5, a tragic accident occurred along Chubachhu-Jungzhina highway in Thimphu, where a monk lost his life after colliding with a truck around 10am. According to the police the truck driver was not under any influence.

During the time of the accident, there was also a third vehicle present, though he was parked to receive a call, police said he was parked in the unsafe parking by the roadside. 

Due to the parked vehicle, the deceased while cycling had to manoeuvre towards the side where cars passed by, at that moment a truck came through and ran over the deceased.

The police stated that if the truck could have taken the right lane or stopped after seeing the cyclist, the accident could have been avoided.

As for the vehicle which was parked on the side, the driver is waiting for the verdict from the court. The case is still under investigation and the driver is still detained.

According to the police, both the driver and pedestrian should take responsibility when it comes to road safety and create awareness through social media.

Bhutan Construction and Transport Authority officials were not available for comment.