The police have started a traffic enforcement drive to reduce pedestrian casualties in the city.

From Wednesday, those who have appropriated footpath space will be evicted, the police said. Motorists who do not respect zebra lines will be fined. Speeding will be checked. Pedestrians who walk on road medians or crossroads at points where there are no zebra lines will be fined. Haphazard parking of vehicles will be discouraged.

Fifty pedestrians were killed in road accidents in the city last year. The toll till April this year is 11. Recent victims include veteran politician Varkala Radhakrishnan, who was fatally injured in an accident involving a milk van while out on an early morning walk. The deaths have raised public concern about the traffic safety of pedestrians. Deputy Commissioner of Police C. H. Nagaraju said pedestrian deaths often occurred during hours of darkness, and the casualties were mostly those who walked on the left side of the road.

He said early morning walkers, who were most at risk, should wear bright or reflective clothing to help motorists spot them better in the darkness.

Schoolchildren should carry bright-coloured bags with reflective stickers.

In 2008, a couple out on an early morning walk were mowed down by a tanker lorry at Nalumukku. In 2007, as many as 47 pedestrians were killed in road accidents in the city. Speeding vans transporting perishable goods to markets in the early hours of the day had caused most of the accidents.

Many impediments

The traffic safety of pedestrians has improved little over the years. The heaping of construction materials on roadsides and appropriation of footpath space by street vendors and wayside eateries often force pedestrians to walk on the carriageway, making them vulnerable to accidents.

In several areas, concrete slabs covering storm-water drains have broken, leaving gaping holes on busy footpaths.

Dislodged pavement tiles, jutting stones, shaky and low-slung traffic signboards and fallen masts of traffic signal lights have made walking on footpaths a treacherous affair. The city lacks a network of elevated and fenced walkways.