GFL Sino-Foreigner People to People
Exchange Research Summer Program
-----How to Protect Pedestrians from Accidents
August 27, 2017
Tutors: Denise Li
Student: Xu Peihan (Tina)
Yuan Ziming (Amy)
Li Huiyi (Lilly)
Word Count: 2200 characters (excluding the content and the reference)
Key words: traffic fatality rate, cars, pedestrians, practical and reasonable solutions
In China, the road traffic fatality rate has gradually increased in the past few years. Present situation is that cars always cut in close to the pedestrians which might make the pedestrians astonished. Cars were invented to bring us convenience but have now become threatening killers. That is not what we expected so we seek to find solutions for this problem to lower the mortality rate. Before our final solutions came out, we did some interviews with people who came from different regions and had personal experience. Some of them gave us professional suggestions while others told their own stories. To make our solutions more reasonable and practical, we read some relevant papers online, trying to find shortcomings of existing solutions. After all these work, three solutions came to our agreement. The three solutions are setting proper traffic laws, building up infrastructures and stepping up publicity. According to contemporary society, it is government that should take charge of solving these problems. This paper aims at calling on more people to get aware of this problem and laying a foundation for further study.
Table of Contents
Chapter1 -Introduction 4
1.2 Why is the Problem Important‥‥‥‥‥‥‥‥‥‥‥‥‥‥……………………………………4
1.3 Methods Used in the research‥‥‥‥‥‥‥‥‥‥‥‥‥‥‥‥‥‥‥‥‥‥‥‥‥‥………………4
1.4 Conclusion ………………….‥‥‥‥‥‥‥‥‥‥‥‥‥‥‥‥‥‥‥‥‥‥‥……………………4
Chapter 2 – Solutions………………………………………………………………………………5
2.1 Proper Laws 5
2.2 Infrastructure 6
2.3 Public Awareness 7
Chapter 3 - Conclusion and Prospect 8
Bibliography / List of References 8
Chapter 1 – Introduction
Present day, Chinese people are facing a serious problem. Living in a fast-paced world constantly keep us under pressure, and it seems like every minute in our lives are worth fighting for. As a result, drivers on the roads always cut in while people walking. This kind of conflict between vehicles and pedestrians is likely to happen whether there are crosswalks on the streets or not.
1.2 Why this problem is important
The conflict between pedestrians and cars has already become a strong risk which poses a threat to people’s life. By taking people’s lives or hurt them badly, traffic accidents are harmful to both victims and perpetrators. Suffering an accident means feeling physical pain, and, at the same time, mental torture. As precious the life is, every effort should be taken to avoid people from getting hurt, which is our original intention while considering the significance of this issue.
1.3 Methods we use in research
To better understand the core questions and the public’s impression about the problem, we interviewed several persons, asked them for personal experience and reasonable solutions they have. The most surprising finding turns to that cut-in phenomenon happens all over the world but not only in China.
According to research, government should be the main force among all the organizations who help with the problem. Public is supposed to pay enough attention as well. Only whole society pulls together can we achieve the result as expected.
Chapter 2 – Solutions
2.1 Proper laws
2.1.1 Panorama of the Solution
There is no doubt that if we want to fundamentally eliminate the contradiction between cars and pedestrians, setting proper laws is the most important method.
To perfect our laws, there are three main steps.
The first is to figure out what the laws are. Present laws clearly stipulate that when a motor vehicle is crossing a crosswalk, it should slow down; if a pedestrian is crossing a crosswalk, it should stop to yield; if a motor vehicle passes a crossing without traffic lights, it shall keep clear and let pedestrians pass first. However, even though the laws are set, there are still some points which might make people confused. For example, when we talk about keeping clear, does it refer to slow down or stop? What speed is a “low” speed? All these points are still waiting to be cleared.
Then it comes to perfecting existing laws. If you go over all those laws carefully, you would easily find out that there are no punishments in our laws, which means that breaking rules and put others in danger costs nothing. Adding some punishment like a certain amount of fine or confiscating driving licenses will be an efficient way to push laws wide accepted. Getting people aware of this problem and willing to obey the rules without punishment is certainly going to take a long period of time, so it may be a good way to help keeping order by making people afraid of breaking the rules. According to a study done last year, there were over 100 thousand people died because of traffic accidents, which shows us how urgent it is to improve our laws to protect people’s lives.
Making sure that public knows clearly about all these laws is indispensable if the laws can show their effects, which means being aware of both the existence and all the details of the laws. Apparently, in China, we do have laws protecting pedestrians, but there seems to be no one obeying them. One possibility is that public knows few about these laws. So far as we concerned, infomercials are a helpful way for government to gather public’s attention since TV series never fails in attracting people’s eyeballs. Being more entertaining while spreading would make knowledge much more impressive as well. Only when people hold deep impression about laws will these laws achieve the goal when they were first set.
Maybe the problem has not been taken seriously yet, but instantly people realize that everyone’s safety is bound up with the problem between pedestrians and cars, a proposal calling on setting a set of more proper laws will come out in a short time and put into use, and, as a common sense, there would be no one who disobey the rules which were set to protect themselves.
Once the laws are set and announced to the public, it will soon show its effect setting a much clearer limitation about people’s behaviors. As we all know, traffic conditions won’t change a lot in a period, so it is easy to keep the laws suitable for that certain time. What the government needs to do is merely to adapt existing laws with new techniques or to new institutions.
2.2.1 Panorama of the Solution
As it is said in the beginning, we took interviews to gain suggestions. Among the all answers, there’s one said that the biggest obstruction for the old to cross the road is the disharmony between traffic lights’ short time and the old’s slowly walking. The answer caused us to think about the construction of infrastructures.
There are three kinds of infrastructures that we consider as the most important part.
First and for most, the traffic unit should increase the number of traffic lights and built count down screens next to the lights as warning signal. If people could know the time left for them, they can evaluate their speed and the width of the road to determine whether to cross the road or not. By this, they do not have to face the dilemma that being stuck in the center of the road.
Sometimes, instead of sidewalk, underground passages or bridges work better in ensuring pedestrians’ safety especially at some large crossings. The most convenient one of undergrounds is that people do not have to wait for such long time as they used to when they are up-ground. What is better, there would never be neither a crazy car driving towards you nor dirty splash after raining. To avoid exhausting the old, elevator should be there to help them with up and down stairs.
Setting monitors is beneficial for the roads’ management as well. They can be used to supervise people, make sure that they behave themselves so that persons who break rules get punished and others get protected. If a car accident happens, videos recorded by monitors would be of great help used as a direct evidence. On the other hand, other facilities would also be safeguarded which can reduce the budget on maintenance.
Besides, details like repainting the age-worn sidewalks should also be done. Each improvement will contribute to perfect infrastructure constructions.
As our society has already have some constructions, there is only a few facilities left to be newly built, while the other work waiting is just reestablishing the ones broken down, repair the old ones, and maintain the rest which are in good conditions now. Building up whole system in one time might be a grandiose project, however, government and individual enterprises can work together and do it gradually. Long time and high quality is much more better than jerry-built facilities which were built too fast. The budget of buildings could be sold to public in stock so people decide to make their contributions by their own volition, and the amount of money they pay for this would not beyond their ability.
As we mentioned above, monitors play a vital role in maintenance, yet budget would still be a pretty penny. Such a barrel of money should not only come from one organization, dividing the whole process into different grading would help reducing stress for each single institution. If government and individual enterprises could cooperate, then both sides would be able to reap economic benefits from this, turning the project profitable and easy to sustain.
2.3 Public Awareness
2.3.1 Panorama of the Solution
Public awareness and promotion are also the indispensable part of the solution.
Such education needs to be started at a young age when students are in elementary school that our traffic laws stipulate that a car is supposed to let the pedestrian cross the road first because pedestrians are in a weak position compared to fast running vehicles. Apart from publicity in elementary school, the government can call on celebrities to conduct publicity, which often yield twice the result with half the effort. While promoting public’s awareness, institutions should make customized schedule facing varied people: cartoons show evident effect on kids while adults are more sensitive about true examples and data, and busy students having no extra time would tend to watch some short plays which offers both entertainment and education. Traditional ways in publicizing process like attractive posters putting up in busy blocks is always helpful.
The early education aims to cultivate people to develop good traffic habits and being self-disciplined without monitors. One of the professors we interviewed called this “social laws”. Although Chinese people didn’t have such high-standard moral codes and there weren’t any explicit legal regulations in the past, it is not late to publicize this from now on. Only when everyone consciously observes the traffic regulations, that pedestrians never run the red light and drivers care about others’ safety and lives, and people internalize legal provisions and practice them will the conflicts between pedestrians and vehicles be relieved greatly.
When education first start, it takes time for public to realize the importance and the efforts seems to be futile. Gradually, people will start to have the consciousness of giving precedence to each other. Holding massive lectures, making posters and cartoons might cost some money, but is worthy comparing to the reward like safety. Now, as there is more than one way to conduct public awareness and promotion, there must be one that can achieve our expected effect.
As for the sustainability of this solution, the most important thing to get started on promoting public awareness is to formulate rules first. Promotion is a long-term task, which requires the government officials’ constant efforts in guiding people to construct moral codes. We shall make a system in cultivating public awareness and constantly try to think innovative methods improving the content and format of advocacy.
Chapter 3 - Conclusion and Prospect
To eliminate the contradiction between pedestrians and vehicles, we have three solutions: setting proper laws, building up infrastructures and promoting public awareness. We expect that relevant laws will be promulgated in 2018; the initial stage of infrastructure construction will be completed by 2020; and nationwide infrastructure construction will be finished by 2025. As for improving people’ awareness of yielding precedence on the road – this is a long-term project and a concept which requires consecutive generations to publicize and promote. In the process of carrying out all these plans, government is supposed to be the main leader while cooperation with individual organizations is essential, too. Solving this issue depends on everyone in the society since traffic is tightly related to our daily lives. As the saying goes, grains of sand can be grouped together and finally form a pagoda. Take actions now.
Bibliography / List of References
·Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, (2003), Road Traffic Safety Law of the People's Republic of China[online]. https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E4%B8%AD%E5%8D%8E%E4%BA%BA%E6%B0%91%E5%85%B1%E5%92%8C%E5%9B%BD%E9%81%93%E8%B7%AF%E4%BA%A4%E9%80%9A%E5%AE%89%E5%85%A8%E6%B3%95/149277?fr=aladdin&fromid=17502759&fromtitle=%E4%BA%A4%E9%80%9A%E6%B3%95
·(August 20, 2017). CCTV News [online]. http://tv.cctv.com/2017/08/20/VIDEeb49pEt8E9HwtOVMGHS0170820.shtml
·(August 29, 2017). How to Divide Responsibility of An Accident at A Crossing Without Traffic Lights? [online]. http://club.m.autohome.com.cn/bbs/thread-c-364-14075281-1.htmls