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Pedestrians still have right of way, right?

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“What were they thinking?” My colleague exclaimed as we drove home from work one tiring Thursday evening, through Osu Kuku Hill in Accra.

“Oh,’let me extend my wall into the pedestrian walkway; this is Ghana, no one cares’, could that be what they were thinking?” bemused Sammy wondered.

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The Principal Road Safety Engineer at Urban Roads, Pat Onny , in an interview with TV3 Online, said prospective house owners are bounded by law to present to the local assembly their architectural drawings for a permit. This, she explained, is to ensure that an applicant’s drawing conforms to the building codes and standards.

She also stated that persons who construct their walls close to any street are supposed to leave a minimum distance of 1.5 to 2 meters to serve as a pedestrian walkway.

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According to Pat Onye, the Assemblies should have building inspectors whose duty is to monitor and stop projects that flout the laws.

Unfortunately, the Assemblies have been handicapped by the lack of vehicles and other essential equipment. In other words, they are ill-equipped to do the job effectively.

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“We have no love for this country and so we fail to see our individual responsibility towards Ghana. We blame everything on our leaders and play political gimmicks!”my colleague observed and I totally agree.

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Another building that has left very little space for the pedestrian walkway.

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A traffic prone area like Osu RE has few pedestrian walkways.

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Some shop owners transcend the walkway to make the streets extension of their shops

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Pedestrians are forced to share the road with vehicles

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Some shops use pedestrian walkways as car park

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Very few roads in Osu have appropriate walkways where even disabled persons can also move freely. Sixty per cent of deaths on the roads in Accra are pedestrian-related, 23 per cent constituted children of school going age, according statistics from the National Road Safety Commission.

Pedestrian safety is an issue that needs to be addressed immediately. Shop owners, homeowners who blatantly disregard the laws and build on walkways should face the rigorous weight of the law.
Unfortunately, the law regarding pedestrian walkways has deliberately been ignored, which many accept as a norm.
According to the head of communications of the National Road Safety Commission, Kwame Koduah, Statistics of pedestrian knockdowns in 2015 stood at 2,121. This staggering figure could have been reduced if road safety rules and regulation were simply enforced.

By Ayerkie Narnor | tv3network.com | Ghana

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