MP wants persons punished for jay walking

October 20, 2016
People chose to ignore this pedestrian crossing as they crossed on Church Street in downtown Kingston.
Dr Morais Guy

At least one parliamentarian has suggested that pedestrians should be prosecuted for using the roads improperly.

Dr Morais Guy, who up to six months ago was the minister responsible for transport, wants persons to be punished for jay walking.

"Progressive states in traffic management have legislation to deal with this and fines are attracted for breaking the law," Guy said in Parliament on Tuesday.

Members of the House of Representatives are debating a bill which is aimed at replacing the old Road Traffic Act.

Guy told fellow legislators that the issue of jay walking is "something that has to be look at if we are serious at reducing fatalities on the road".

Jay walking refers to the crossing or use of the streets by pedestrians in an unlawfully manner, or without regard for approaching traffic.

Guy pointed out that 86 pedestrians died on the roads in 2011, another 59 in 2012 and 85 in 2013. So far this year, 61 pedestrians are among the 304 persons who have died on the nation's roads in crashes.


pedestrian signal


The new Road Traffic bill has imposed certain duties on pedestrian but Guy argues that they do not go far enough. Among other things, the bill said that a pedestrian at a crossing shall not enter the crossing, except in accordance with the indications of the pedestrian signal. Guy said that while the bill speaks to the duties of pedestrians, the legislation is deficient in any punitive measures for infractions such as jay walking.

The Road Safety Unit in the Ministry of Transport and Mining is renewing the call for motorists to desist from the practice of speeding on the roads, as road fatalities continue to mount.

Since the start of the year, 304 persons have died, prompting the Unit to re-issue the call. Pedestrians, motorcyclists, passengers and drivers of private motor vehicles have recorded the highest number of fatalities to date.

It is against that background that the Unit yesterday appealed to road users, including pedestrians, to use the road with caution.

"Pedestrians are encouraged to use pedestrian crossings or other safe places, walk facing the oncoming traffic and to always wear bright and light colour clothing when it is dark. Each year, more than 270,000 pedestrians lose their lives on the world's roads. Globally, pedestrians constitute 22 per cent of all road traffic fatalities, and in some countries this proportion is as high as two thirds of all road traffic deaths,"the Road Safety Unit said.

... what the bill says ...




• A pedestrian shall not suddenly enter a pedestrian crossing and walk or run into the path of a vehicle which is so close that it is not possible for the driver or operator to yield.

• Where a sidewalk or footpath abuts the road, a pedestrian shall not walk onto the road, except for the purpose of crossing from one side of the road to the other side of the road or for some reasonable cause.

• A pedestrian, on a road which has no sidewalk or footpath abutting the road shall walk as near as is practicable to the edge of the road, except where the presence of pedestrians on the road is prohibited by a prescribed road sign.

• A pedestrian shall not cross a road without satisfying himself that the road is sufficiently free of oncoming traffic so as to permit him to cross the road safely.

• A pedestrian, when crossing a road by means of a pedestrian crossing or in any other manner, shall not linger on the road unnecessarily.

• A pedestrian on a road shall not act in a manner that constitutes, or is likely to constitute, a source of danger to himself or to other traffic which is or may be on the road.

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