With weathermen predicting the onset of South West Monsoon on May 31, the police have advised early morning walkers to wear bright-coloured or reflective clothing to help motorists spot them better in darkness and rain.

The advisory comes in the wake of the death of two women who were run over by a speeding truck during the course of their regular morning walk in Thrissur early this month.

Walking circuits

The city's few walking circuits, such as those at Museum, Kanakakunnu and Tagore Theatre, are crowded. Most citizens are forced to walk on the streets for their exercise, bringing them into conflict with vehicular traffic.

According to National Transportation Planning and Research Centre experts, the number of pedestrians, particularly schoolchildren travelling without escorting adults, is high early in the day. Most tuition centres and several schools open very early.

They said students should use bright-coloured bags with reflective stickers.

Ideally, pedestrians should avoid walking on medians and desist from crossing roads at places where there are no zebra crossings.

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.

Death toll

The police said at least 56 pedestrians died in road accidents in the district last year. Construction material heaped on roadsides often forced pedestrians to walk on the carriage way, impeding traffic.

Street vendors have usurped much of the city's footpaths. Broken concrete slabs covering storm water drains have left gaping holes on footpaths at several areas.

Dislodged pavement tiles, jutting stones, shaky signboards and fallen masts of traffic signal lights have 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.