Jaywalking, not only the increasing number of cars, is identified as one of the main causes of traffic jams, according to Thimphu traffic police officials.

Police had observed that pedestrians walking without regard for approaching cars on the several zebra crossings are causing the traffic mess, especially during rush hours. There are about 78 zebra crossings in the Thimphu thromde.

Superintendent of Police (SP), traffic division, Lt. Colonel Namgay said that while zebra crossing is the right place to cross the road, pedestrians take it as their right without being mindful of the approaching traffic. This was found from several policemen deployed at the various zebra crossings. “The right of the pedestrian begins when he steps on the zebra crossing, not when on the roadside of a crossing,” said the SP.

One of the main causes of traffic jam along the expressway, motorists pointed out, is pedestrian rushing to cross the road in the morning. They said that traffic police manning the zebra crossing are stopping vehicles to let even a single pedestrian pass. “There should at least be five to six pedestrians waiting before they stop the vehicle,” said a motorist. “This is the main cause of traffic jam along the busy road.”

SP Namgay said traffic policemen are instructed to wait for at least four pedestrians to gather before letting them cross at zebra crossings. “The rule is difficult because sometimes it takes time to wait for four people and those waiting becomes impatient when there is a taxi or bus waiting on the other side,” said the official.

The Lt. Colonel said most motorists are now well aware of the zebra crossing rule. “Motorists have now understood the zebra crossing rule and slow down to let pedestrians cross, however, pedestrians are not aware of the rule,” he said.

Another cause, the SP said was officer-goers not planning their journey to the office. “Everybody hits the same road at the same time. This is causing traffic jams,” he said.

However, no cases of accidents on zebra crossings have been reported so far.

The traffic division will increase their awareness campaigns targeting pedestrians on the right of the road at busy traffic crossings.

Staff reporter