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Motorists Beware. Danger Hotspots for Jaywalkers

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According to the Singapore Traffic Police, motorcyclists and elderly pedestrians continue to account for a disproportionate number of road traffic accidents resulting in injuries or death.

The number of traffic accidents involving elderly pedestrians (defined as 60 years old and above) is increasing post-pandemic, and the number of fatalities in this group increased 53.3% last year over the previous year.

Why are elderly pedestrians at risk?

According to the statistics, 73.9% of the fatal accidents involving elderly pedestrians last year were due to jaywalking.

The top reasons cited for all pedestrian injuries over the last few years were recorded as “Crossing heedless of traffic”, “Failing to use available pedestrian crossing”, “Crossing within pedestrian crossing when red man lighted”, and “Crossing in front or behind a vehicle which obstructs view” respectively.

Interestingly, over the last decade “Failing to use available pedestrian crossing” has increased as a proportion of reasons for overall pedestrian injuries while the overall number of causes of accidents attributed to pedestrians has more than halved.

What’s being done to improve pedestrian safety?

In recognition of the impacts on older pedestrians, the government has embarked on programs to change both driver and pedestrian behavior.

On the latter, pragmatic measures such as fitting overhead pedestrian bridges with lifts, particularly near public transport nodes and healthcare centres is one solution. Around 70 have already been fitted, and another 30 are planned. A further 70 pedestrian bridges have been fitted with ramps.

And to help less ambulant pedestrians get across roads at pedestrian crossings, more than 1,000 crossings island-wide have been fitted with Green Man Plus (GM+), which extends the period of time allowed to cross the road. Elderly people or those with disabilities activate the system by tapping their concession cards on the GM+ reader at these intersections.

LTA plans to install a further 1,500 GM+ pedestrian crossings by 2026.

Also, in 2014 the Silver Zone scheme was introduced, featuring a number of traffic calming measures and senior-friendly road safety features. Silver Zones tend to be located close to food courts and medical facilities and where there is a history of accidents involving seniors.

Silver Zones usually feature a speed limit of 40km/h, additional crossing points, and narrower lanes to reduce traffic speeds.

To increase protection for elderly pedestrians, in 2021 it was announced drivers face increased demerit points and composition fines for offences committed in Silver Zones over those incurred outside Silver Zones. The same increases were applied in School Zones to protect younger pedestrians.

For instance, motorists who commit offences at pedestrian crossings or offences that endanger pedestrian safety at Silver Zones incur two additional demerit points on top of the original demerit points for the offence. In addition, composition fines for these offences committed in Silver Zones have increased by $100.

In areas with Silver Zones, traffic accidents involving older pedestrians have been reduced by 80%.

Plans are in place to increase the number of Silver Zones island-wide to 50 by 2025.

Where are the danger zones for pedestrians now?

While the Silver Zones have clearly improved pedestrian safety, one could be forgiven for thinking the problem is simply being moved elsewhere. But where there were 444 pedestrian accidents causing injuries or fatalities in 2014, by 2021 that had more than halved to 211.

Obviously, that is a figure the government would like to see reduced, so more Silver Zones are planned – and that also gives us some clues about where today’s pedestrian accident hotspots are likely to be. There is not much point installing Silver Zones where there is no demand.

By this logic we can infer that the current danger zones for elderly pedestrians are:

  • Serangoon North Avenue 1 (eastern stretch) & Avenue 2
  • Bedok Reservoir Road
  • Ang Mo Kio Street 32
  • Hougang Street 51 & Hougang Street 52
  • Tampines Street 42, Tampines Street 43 & Tampines Street 44
  • Ghim Moh Road
  • Choa Chu Kang Street 51
  • Corporation Drive
  • Circuit Road
  • Choa Chu Kang Crescent
  • Tampines Avenue 3, Tampines Street 82 & Tampines Street 83
  • Teban Gardens Road
  • Serangoon Avenue 2 & Serangoon Avenue 3
  • Ang Mo Kio Street 61
  • Woodlands Avenue 4 & Woodlands Drive 50

Along with improvements to physical infrastructure, and the measures to slow traffic in pedestrian danger zones, Traffic Police states that it will continue to engage and educate elderly road users on good road safety habits through a range of programmes.

These include partnering with Senior Activity Centres and Lion Befrienders to educate the elderly on road safety, and training senior citizen volunteers as Road Safety Champions to help disseminate road safety advisories and advocate road safety to other residents in their neighbourhoods. If the carrot doesn’t work, the fines for jaywalking were increased from $20 to $50 in 2019.

In a perfect world there would be no injuries or fatalities on Singapore roads, but though pragmatic efforts to change driver and pedestrian behaviors, and improved infrastructure, Singapore has amongst the lowest rates of road traffic fatalities worldwide.

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https://www.police.gov.sg › media

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