In the wake of death of three joggers in Alappuzha

The city police have urged early morning walkers to wear bright coloured or reflective clothing to help motorists spot them better in the darkness.

The advisory comes in the wake of the death of three joggers, all of them young men who aspired to join the Army, in Alappuzha district, early Wednesday.

Deaths in city

The city has had its share of early morning accident deaths, prominently that of former Speaker and MP Varkala Radhakrishnan in April 2010. The octogenarian was hit by a milk van while out for his regular morning walk. He died in a hospital a few days later.

In 2009, a couple, both of them regular morning walkers, were mowed down by a tanker lorry near Pattoor. The recent incident at Alappuzha has raised concerns over the traffic safety of people who walk on the roads in the pre-dawn hours.

National Transportation Planning and Research Centre experts say the number of pedestrians, particularly schoolchildren without any adults to accompany them, was high early in the morning. Most tuition centres and several schools opened early. They said that students should use bright-coloured bags with reflective stickers, and pedestrians should walk only on their right-hand side of the road. They should desist from walking on medians and crossing roads at points where there were no zebra crossings.

Hazards

At least 20 per cent of the accidents reported in the city occurred in the early hours. Ill-lit and badly designed junctions, speeding, lack of raised and fenced footpaths, and sleepy drivers were the main accident-causing factors.

The police said at least 56 pedestrians died in road accidents in the city last year.

Cluttered footpaths

A residents' association office-bearer said negligence on the part of pedestrians seemed not to be the sole cause for early morning accidents. Construction material heaped on roadsides often forced pedestrians to walk on the carriageway, thus bringing them in conflict with vehicular traffic. The police did little to clear roads of such obstacles.

He pointed out that street vendors had usurped much of the city's footpaths. Stormwater drains were often left open. Many had their concrete coverings broken, leaving gaping halls on footpaths. Dislodged pavement tiles, jutting stones, shaky signboards, and fallen masts of traffic signal lights had made walking on footpaths a treacherous affair.

Pedestrian pathways

Many city roads require elevated or underground pedestrian pathways.

The police said they were trying to make traffic management in the city more oriented towards pedestrian safety.