Yuan Ching Rd jaywalkers say traffic lights too far away, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Yuan Ching Rd jaywalkers say traffic lights too far away

Yuan Ching Road in Taman Jurong is a busy dual carriageway with two lanes in both directions, but residents of the nearby Lake Vista estate say they have little choice but to jaywalk across it to get to a nearby bus stop.

Students from the neighbouring Yuvabharathi International School are also known to dash across, after emerging from Hu Ching Road in front of their school, the residents added. This turned fatal on Jan 30 when a 12-year-old girl was killed after being hit by a van.

“There are no traffic lights at this junction (of Yuan Ching Road and Hu Ching Road). The nearest crossing is too far,” said a resident, Mr Seow, who declined to give his full name. He was crossing from the bus stop to the Lake Vista estate.

Another resident, who declined to be named, said: “It is more convenient to cross at this junction instead of walking to the traffic light crossings.”

The Straits Times visited the accident site on Feb 1 and found that there are two traffic light crossings in Yuan Ching Road, on either side of this T-junction.

One is located next to Jurong Secondary School, about 200m away. The other is located at the other end of Yuan Ching Road, near the junction of Yung Ho Road, about 245m away. There are no other pedestrian crossings in between.

There is a zebra crossing in Hu Ching Road near the international school.

A spokesman for Yuvabharathi International School told ST that about eight members of its teaching and security staff are outside the school grounds almost every day when the students are dismissed, to ensure that they do not jaywalk.

Referring to the Jan 30 accident, the spokesman said: “Our staff were on the spot immediately within a few minutes (of being informed of the accident). But we could do nothing.

“The school is coordinating with the Land Transport Authority, and with their support, we will initiate measures for safer traffic conditions around us,” he added.

Speaking to ST on Feb 1, the school’s principals, Dr Jagadeesan Jayashree and Ms Mahalakshmi Venkataraman, said staff and students have been heavy-hearted over the incident.

They said the school was closed on Jan 31, and reopened on Feb 1 with students and staff observing a minute of silence.

“We are supporting students and parents and asking them to keep her (the 12-year-old student) in their prayers,” added the principals.

They said the school conducts road safety classes, and staff are around the area to ensure students observe road safety rules.

The accident comes a week after four-year-old Zara Mei Orlic was killed when a car knocked her down on her way home from pre-school in the River Valley area. She was with her maid and younger sister. Both were not injured.

Singapore Road Safety Council chairman Bernard Tay said road safety education is a continuous effort regardless of age group.

“We believe that the (authorities) are doing the best they can to ensure that road users comply with the traffic rules,” he said, adding that parents and teachers can also play a part in ensuring that students stay safe.

Mr Tay said teachers should always remind the students about road safety tips.

“Reinforce the kerb drills and ensure that the student does not dash across the road,” he said.

He also had a message for parents: “Parents or guardians should also hold on tightly to your children when crossing the road.

“Make it a point to practise the kerb drills with them on a daily basis as you commute to and from your home.”

Figures from the police showed there were 33 pedestrian fatalities in 2022, 10 more than in 2021. There were 18 fatalities in 2020.

Most of those killed were older pedestrians, with jaywalking as the most common cause.

In 2022, 23 out of 33 pedestrian fatalities were aged 60 and above.

The police said a 23-year-old male driver of a van was arrested for careless driving in connection with the Jan 30 accident in Taman Jurong.

A 40-year-old woman has been arrested in connection with the Jan 23 accident in River Valley.

Both investigations are ongoing.