DURING my recent trip to Guyana a few weeks ago, I observed from a few houses away, a primary school student from Meten-Meer-Zorg Primary waiting patiently to cross the road to get to her school. Standing at the barely legible remnants of a “Pedestrian Crosswalk”, she fidgeted nervously as she looked from left to right and back continuously for a break to cross the road. Since there were no adults around, I decided to go assist her. I signalled drivers to stop and allow her to cross. The child was relieved that I was able to help in this process.
Crossing the public road on the West Coast of Demerara in highly populated areas has become difficult, challenging and dangerous, especially for school children and elders during the morning and evening rush hours. The problem is compounded by inconsiderate drivers who blatantly show utter disregard for basic rules.
I recall in the past that there were traffic officers and/ or teachers assigned to assist students to cross the public road at designated pedestrian crossings during peak hours. From my observation, there were no persons there to help students cross the road.
I fear that the situation will worsen if the necessary actions are not taken to alleviate the situation.
These steps that can be taken: pedestrian crossings need to re-marked and signboards should be erected to alert drivers of an upcoming crossing; blinking amber lights could be installed for awareness at selected busy pedestrian crossings; the traffic guard/ teacher supervision at crossings needs to be re-instituted with appropriate safety gear and handheld signboard during the peak hours at busy pedestrian crossings (traffic officers, teachers or community volunteers); and fines and penalties for drivers breaking the laws in this regard should be more severe.