Traffic: More than a year after the Royal Bhutan Police (RBP) initiated an awareness campaign on using zebra crossings, road usage decorum has increased.

Superintendent of police (SP) with the traffic division said that there has been good response from drivers and pedestrians. However, there are road users who do not follow safety rules when crossing the road even after road safety awareness programmes were carried out by authorities concerned.

This year five motor accidents were reported of a pedestrain hit on a zebra crossing.

The superintendent said that the RBP has requested the Thimphu thromde to repaint those zebra crossings that have started fading. Re-painting work has started along the Norzin, Doeboom and Desi lams.

A pedestrian Sangay Dorji said that most of the time he stands at the edge of a faded zebra crossing wondering whether it is safe for him to cross as drivers do not stop because the white stripes are not visible. “It is good and safer that the fading zebra crossings are being repainted,” Sangay Dorji said.

The superintendent said that the thromde could not repaint all the zebra crossings in one go because inadequate marking machines. Meanwhile, the RBP has erected temporary poles with pedestrian crossing signs at the ends of about 16 faded zebra crossings at various locations in the city to indicate that there is a zebra crossing ahead and to advise drivers to slow down to allow the pedestrians to cross.

The numbers of drivers not parking their vehicles properly has also been reduced since the introduction of the sticker notice for double parking. However, many drivers still continue to double park.

He also pointed out that there had been complaints of taxis stopping abruptly to pick up passengers increasing accident risks. Drivers have also been advised to use their parking signal   and to pick up passengers only after having parked their car properly.

“As a law enforcing agency, we will strictly monitor and check on the roads and the violators will be penalised,” the superintendent said. “Our aim is not to impose fines or harass the public but for the safety of all road users.”

The superintendent said that it is not possible to ensure road safety by the traffic police alone. “It is the responsibility of everyone and it will be appreciated if public could inform the traffic police division of any traffic violators.”

A taxi driver, Karma Wangdi said there are pedestrians who try to cross the road suddenly. “It is confusing when they appear to cross the road but they don’t and when we assume they wont cross, they cross the road,” Karma Wangdi said. “Most of the time, such incident causes accidents.”

Another driver Sonam Dorji said it is difficult to see pedestrains esecially those wearing dark clothes at night and in the rain. He added that the motorists therefore must be extra vigilant when approaching zebra crossings.

But he said that the pedestrians should also check both sides of the road before crossing the road. “If a vehicle has approached near the zebra crossing then they should wait for it to give way before crossing.”

Thimphu traffic officials also briefed taxi drivers in Lungtenzampa and the city bus parking on proper driving etiquette last week. Pamphlets with safety rules for drivers and pedestrians were also distributed.

“Being a professional driver, taxi drivers should set a good example for road users,” the superintendent said.

Dechen Tshomo