Source: The Jamaica Observer - Monday, March 23, 2015 | 5:57 PM
KINGSTON, Jamaica – Pedestrians, motorcyclists and pedal cyclists account for the majority of road users killed in road crashes since the start of the year, according to the Road Safety Unit in the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing.
Termed vulnerable road users, the statistics from the unit reveal that of the 83 people who have died, 22 were pedestrians; 22 were motorcyclists and three were pedal cyclists.
This is a 12 per cent increase in fatal deaths when compared to the similar period in 2014, when 74 persons died, a release from the ministry said Monday.
Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing, Dr. Morais Guy noted that the statistics are alarming, as these crashes are preventable.
“Excessive speeding, improper overtaking, pedestrian error, and failure to keep to the left are some of the primary reasons why we are having these deaths occurring. Seventeen per cent of these fatal crashes were due to excessive speeding, and 17 per cent were due to the fact that motorists failed to keep in their traffic lane," Dr Guy said. "In addition, four per cent of these crashes were due to improper overtaking."
Meanwhile, Director of the Road Safety Unit Kenute Hare said that the increase in fatalities for the period is unacceptable and Jamaicans must take charge of their safety and lives in the traffic environment.
“With 82 days into 2015, persons have died in accidents at a rate of almost one a day. This is an intolerable state of affairs – we need to live road safety and reap the rewards,” he emphasised.
The Road Safety Unit noted that motorcyclists continue to pose a problem in the traffic environment. The parishes of Westmoreland and St Elizabeth account for 45 per cent of the motorcyclists killed in traffic crashes since the start of the year, with 36 per cent in Westmoreland and nine per cent St Elizabeth.
Of the 15 people who have died in Westmoreland, eight were motorcyclists, and six were males under the age of 30.