The number of traffic accidents that include drivers’ refusal to give way on pedestrian crossings has increased in Riga, as reported by State Police.
Police says that 65 traffic accidents of this kind were registered last year. Three such accidents had resulted in deaths, and ten such accidents had seriously injured children. 16 such traffic accidents have already been registered in the first two months of 2017.
State Police notes that accidents happen at night and during the day. Accidents when cars run over pedestrians most often take place as a result of the drivers’ intentional breach of road traffic rules or their carelessness – not noticing pedestrian crossing in time. Situations like that may be the result of insufficient lighting of the area, obstruction of the view by parked vehicles and the lack of signs.
One possible solution would be installing more lighting systems and setting up horizontal vibration elements on the road to force drivers to reduce driving speed and pay more attention to the road, police say.
Riga Municipal Police notes that matter should be divided into two parts – perform stricter monitoring of compliance with pedestrian rules and ensure safe movement of pedestrians on streets by performing regular preventive measures. It is also necessary to secure additional funding for lighting.
Road Police also mention a similar situation. It is also noted that drivers are not the only ones to blame for traffic accidents. Last year, 17,306 reports were compiled in relation to pedestrians violating Road Traffic Rules.
There are 517 pedestrian crossings, 100 of them are regulated by traffic lights, 417 pedestrian crossings have no traffic lights, 137 are fitted with additional lighting systems, and 280 have no lighting. State standards dictate that if the number of pedestrians does not exceed at least 50 pedestrians per hour, there is no reason to install a pedestrian crossing. If the number of pedestrians reaches at least 300, and irregular pedestrian crossing has to be installed in the area.
Municipal police also admit that the number of accidents can increase by 25% even if crossings are installed. This is related to human psychology. If there is no crossing, people are more careful. But if there is one, people cross the road without thinking. Such behaviour can lead to accidents, as drivers can be equally careless.
It should be noted that unregulated pedestrian walkways are established in locations that ensure visibility for pedestrians and vehicles. The pedestrian has to be visible for vehicles 200 m away.
The biggest risks that can potentially cause traffic accidents include low-quality lighting, poor visibility and traffic participants’ refusal to comply with road traffic rules.
To reduce the number of accidents and improve the safety of traffic participants, measures will be taken to reconstruct or liquidate inappropriate crossings, adding all non-regulated crossings to the list of maintained objects and installing additional technical means to assist traffic organization, Riga City Council promises.
The municipality reports that there are plans to invest EUR 280,000 for the improvement of pedestrian crossings. EUR 400,000 will be invested in traffic lights.