Makati Mayor Abby Binay has ordered the Public Safety Department (PSD) to strictly enforce traffic regulations on pedestrian lanes, following reports from concerned citizens about motorists blatantly disregarding the safety of pedestrians.
“I have been receiving several reports from Makatizens that pedestrians are often put at risk by motorists who fail to observe the basic road courtesy of giving way to pedestrians, even those who are crossing on pedestrian lanes,” Binay said.
The mayor also cited a report from the Makati Police Department showing that last year, a total of 204 pedestrians were injured in accidents involving various types of vehicles. Of these, 13 were hit-and-run victims, while four-wheel vehicles were tagged as top culprits with 117 victims, followed by motorcycles with 76 victims.
“I have asked our traffic enforcers from PSD to see to it that pedestrian lanes are not blocked by vehicles so that people can cross safely to the other side of the road. Any obstruction poses danger to pedestrians because it forces them to walk outside the lane markings which are supposed to be a ‘safe zone’ for them,” Binay said.
Under Article 20, Section 105 of the Makati Traffic Code of 2003, a driver approaching a pedestrian crossing shall travel at such a speed that he or she will be able to stop the vehicle before reaching the pedestrian crossing. It also requires the driver to give way to any pedestrian who is on a pedestrian crossing, and prohibits any part of the vehicle from encroaching on a pedestrian lane at a stoplight.
According to data from PSD, Makati currently has a total of 146 pedestrian lanes with traffic lights, 32 pedestrian lanes without traffic lights, 11 overpasses, seven underpasses, and 64 intersections along the city’s major thoroughfares.
The mayor has also directed the PSD to review the existing provisions of the Makati Traffic Code and identify those that need to be amended as well as those that are already obsolete and should be deleted and/or replaced.
“There is clearly a need to revisit and modify our existing traffic laws in order to make them more effective in promoting order and discipline on our streets. It is a crucial step in ensuring road safety for motorists, commuters and pedestrians in Makati,” Binay said.
She noted that the penalty for violating pedestrian crossings under Section 105 of the code carried a mere P200-fine with community service. “We need to give more teeth to our Traffic Code by raising the fines for violations that directly endanger lives, especially of pedestrians who are most vulnerable to injury or death caused by accidents on the road,” Binay said.
The mayor also reminded pedestrians to strictly abide by restrictions imposed by traffic rules for their own protection. “Pedestrians should be mindful of their duty to obey the law. They can avoid accidents by paying close attention to traffic signals and being alert while on the road,” she said.
Restrictions for pedestrians include being prohibited from alighting from or boarding a moving vehicle, not observing loading and unloading zones, remaining on a pedestrian crossing or marked crosswalk longer than is necessary for the purpose of passing over the road with reasonable dispatch, and standing on a footway or thoroughfare that obstructs or prevents the free passage of other pedestrians or vehicles.
Meanwhile, other sections of the city traffic code that uphold the safety of pedestrians include Section 25 under Article V, which mandates a driver turning to the right or left at an intersection to give way to all pedestrians. A driver making a U-Turn is also required to give way to all other vehicles and to all pedestrians. Violation of this provision carries a fine of P500.
For drivers entering an abutting road, Section 28 orders them to give way to all pedestrians on the road, except when otherwise instructed to proceed by a traffic control-signal, a traffic policeman or aide, or a duly authorized traffic enforcer. Violators are also subject to a fine of P500.
Under the Makati Traffic Code, the second and subsequent traffic offenses shall carry penalties that are two times the value of the most recent fines on record, whether the same had been paid or not, but not to exceed P2,500 per violation.
For habitual offenders, or when the violation involved property damage in excess of P10, 000 or loss of life, the Traffic and Parking Management Office shall seek the cancellation of the driver’s license through the LTO.