TAMIL NADU

Pedestrian fatalities on the rise

CHENNAI Aug. 10. There has been an increase in the number of pedestrians killed in road accidents in the city. A total of 87 persons died after they were involved in various accidents till June 30 this year. During the corresponding period last year, 63 persons were killed, G. Uma Ganapathy Sastry, Joint Commissioner of Police (Traffic), has said.

Briefing reporters, he dismissed the contention that the increase was due to shrinking space on footpaths. "In the past one year, space on the footpaths has not been reduced." However, the number of two-wheeler riders killed decreased compared to the previous years.

He pointed out that 87 two-wheeler riders died in accidents till June 30 this year, while the figure stood at 96 for the same period last year. While 219 two-wheeler riders lost their lives during 2000, the same dipped to 208 the following year. Last year, a total of 185 two-wheeler riders were killed, with nearly 110 of them dying as a result of injuries sustained in the head.

Mr. Sastry said the traffic police would be embarking on an intensive campaign appealing to two-wheeler riders, including those on the pillion, to wear helmets. However they had no plans to make wearing helmets mandatory. Out of the 14-lakh two-wheelers in the city, 80 per cent of the riders did not wear helmets, he said.