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…Edghill bemoans carnage, slams reckless road use
With some 15 deaths so far on our roadways, Minister of Public Works, Juan Edghill said the situation is of great concern even as he bemoaned that some persons continue to use the roads in a reckless and uncaring manner, which in many instances result in the death or injury to themselves and innocent road users.
In a statement issued on Friday Edghill said for the year 2021, 99 persons were killed when compared with 139 persons for 2020. The 2021 results showed a 29% reduction when compared with 2020. What is very notable is that the vulnerable class of road users (pedal cyclist, motor cyclist and pedestrian) accounted for 67.7% of the total deaths in 2021. While in 2020 they accounted for 79.9% of the total deaths.
Edghill said his ministry continues to take significant steps to have safe spaces (pedestrian walkways/sidewalks) installed for pedestrians. “Very alarming from the data retrieved from the Guyana Police Force, where it was found that pedal and motor cyclist combined accounted for 37.4% of the deaths in 2021 and 56.1% in 2020. Comparative data has shown that as of March 3, 2022 15 persons would have been killed on our roads as a result of 14 accidents, when compared with the same period for 2021 when 20 persons died from 19 accidents. What is significantly alarming, is that in 2021, 14 of the 20 persons killed at that period were the most vulnerable classes of road users (2 pedal cyclists, 8 motor cyclists and 4 pedestrians). While at March 3, 2022 of the 15 killed the vulnerable classes accounted for 7 (2 pedal cyclists, 3 motor cyclists, 2 pedestrians).”
Data provided showed that for 2021 362 serious accidents were recorded, and resulted in injuries to 397 persons. While in 2020 329 serious accidents resulted in 356 persons injured. We saw from that data, a 11.5% increase in serious accident in 2021 when compared to 2020 and a 10% increase in injuries. “I am of the opinion that many of the injuries might have resulted in persons not been able to meaningfully contribute and serve to their full potential.
As a result of the above mentioned, I appeal to all our pedal and motor cyclists and their pillion riders to use helmets. Too many Guyanese are riding around without helmets. I urge pedestrians to exercise caution when crossing our roads, and with the advent of four lane roads, consideration should be given that it will take more time to cross. Proper judgment is required,” the minister stated.
He said the use of seatbelts by occupants of both the front and rear seats of all motor vehicles are encouraged, even as appealed to parents/guardians and teachers to adopt and promote road safety education as regular as possible. Edghill said too that partnerships with the Guyana Police Force Traffic department, the Guyana Road Safety Council and the Ministry of Public Works should be enhanced with the aim of greater public education and awareness and stricter enforcement. “No life should be lost as a result of carelessness or recklessness. As the Minister of Public Works, I will examine with my colleagues, to encourage legislation to ensure stricter controls be it the training/re-training of drivers/ riders, higher fines or stiffer penalties and a studied approach for the introduction of a demerit system. I call upon all Guyanese as we build new super highways, improve and rehabilitate community roads, expand our Hinterland Road Networks and provide alternative routes for easy access, reducing congestion and cutting travel time that we observe the Five C’s: Care, Courtesy, Caution, Consideration and Common sense,” Edghill stated.