If you can’t change, then change will change you.
Well, drivers on Rwandan highways seem to have adamantly failed or refused to respect some traffic rules, and constantly broke the rules.
One of the major broken rule was and is still, not respecting zebra crossing, to give pedestrians the right to cross the road.
Hundreds of pedestrians have been fatally injured and some knocked to death by reckless drivers and motorists.
Traffic Police Officers often would be given excuses such as “the zebra crossing are “invisible”.
It created a who is right and who is wrong scenario. Tired of excuses, the Rwanda National Police and the Ministry of infrastructure have decided to use unconventional means of handling the matter.
Change the paintings.
The pedestrian crossing lines were changed from zebra stripes to massive “Red and White” as response to road users’ concerns to “increase visibility” but also to “emphasise respect for pedestrian pathways”, the State Minister for Transport, Eng. Jean de Dieu Uwihanganye, said.
Shortly after officially kick-starting the countrywide repainting exercise, the State Minister said pedestrians are among the majority victims of road accidents, which requires special emphasis on their rights on the road.
“Some pedestrians are knocked while crossing the road. On the other hand, motorists have raised concern that the zebra stripes are not clearer; so we came up with a new idea of increasing visibility at the same time emphasizing the rights for pedestrians by painting red and white,” Uwihanganye said.
He added that, “Colour red means danger, and we are telling motorists that look; speeding through these crossing lines, you will be a danger to another person; you will be shading someone else’s blood.”
Minister Uwihanganye said the exercise will be conducted across all roads in the country including increasing new pedestrian crossing lines as part of the ongoing efforts to prevent road carnage.
The new stripes also have beacons on both sides, which guide pedestrians on entry and exit points while crossing the road.
“We are also telling pedestrians to use provided pathways while crossing or using the main road. This is because under the new traffic law, if enacted, pedestrians will also face varied penalties if they are found to be the cause of the accident,” the State Minister said.
“Roads are constructed for all people; drivers, motorcyclists, cyclists and pedestrians. Let everyone use it responsibly respecting traffic signs and rights of others. Everyone will be penalized for their reckless behavior on the road.”
Police spokesperson, Commissioner of Police (CP) John Bosco Kabera, said the “red and white stripes send a strong message to motorists that these are dangerous areas.”
“The general approach to prevent road accidents is to reach out to every category of road users, ensure their rights on the road are observed. Preventing accidents is a national policy that we are implementing through educating all people on traffic rules, applying new technologies in traffic control but also penalizing errant road users,” CP Kabera said.