By: Madhuparna Bhattacharjee

MUSCAT: Like motorists, erring pedestrians too can be jailed for up to three months or fined under the Omani Traffic Law, the ROP has said.

Reckless behaviour by pedestrians, especially jaywalkers, poses a threat to all road users, and according to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Global Status Report on Road Safety 2013, 23 per cent of those dying in accidents in Oman are pedestrians. On Sunday, a jaywalker died while trying to cross a busy road in Al Hail.

“We fine pedestrians just the way we fine erring drivers,” an ROP official told Muscat Daily. Jaywalkers – those who cross a busy road recklessly – form the majority of offenders, he said. “They are mostly Asian expatriates.”

The official said that the punishment depends on the offence and the court judgment; with sentences ranging from 24 hours to three months.

On numerous occasions, people dash across the road even when the traffic signal is green for oncoming traffic. “This leads to accidents, some of them fatal. In such cases, it’s the pedestrian who is at fault and not the motorist. If caught, the offender is penalised,” he said.

Talking about Sunday morning accident in Al Hail, the official said, “The victim tried running across the road although there is an underpass and foot overbridge on the road.”

The victim, a Bangladeshi national died at the Sultan Qaboos University Hospital where he was rushed with grievous injuries.

Road safety assumes high significance for the sultanate looking at the high death rate from road accidents. The 2013 WHO report also says that 45 per cent of deaths in the region are among vulnerable road users, of which pedestrians constitute 28 per cent. ‘In high-income countries, most road accident deaths occur among car occupants, while in middle-income countries pedestrians and riders of two and three-wheelers account for a higher proportion of deaths,’ the report stated.