Jaywalking, no more

Now dare to cross roads randomly only if you are willing to cough up Rs 200 as fine, or dedicate 3 hours of your time to road safety class

KATHMANDU: When the Metropolitan Traffic Police Division (MTPD), Ram Shah Path started levying a fine of Rs 200 on jaywalkers from May 30, or if they cannot not cough up the fine amount, the jaywalkers are to attend road safety classes at its office at Ram Shah Path, social networking sites got busy. There were posts and tweets, comments and even criticism of the rule saying that people who do not know about the rule would fall victim to this new regulation. The MTPD has made it mandatory for all pedestrians to use zebra crossings while crossing roads, and use sky bridges or subways whenever possible.

On June 1 Facebook user Padam Shrestha posted a satirical post on the new traffic rule: “When I tried to cross road in Chabahil, I couldn’t find it (zebra crossing), so took a taxi to the airport, paid a fare of Rs 150 and crossed the road there. I saved Rs 50. (Chabahilma baato cross garna laako zebra crossing navetera taxima Rs 150 tirera airport pugera baato cross gariyo, 50 rupaiya ta napha nai vayo).”

Likewise, Shyam Sundar Pudasaini posted: “People who tore ballot papers, killers are awarded, but those who cross the road are caught #achievement of republic day. (Matapatra katne, Manchhe katnelai samman, Baato katne pakrau # Ganatantrako Upalapdhi).”

Looking at social media it seems people are not happy with the new rule. But is this really so?

People’s reaction

Unlike the rantings on social networking sites, most of the people on the roads are happy with the new rules. Sixty-five-year-old Amrita Rai from Nepaltar supports the new traffic rule. “We should follow the new rules to be civilised. It is also for our safety,” she affirms.

Regarding infrastructure or lack of it thereof, DIGP Lama says, “We aren’t levying fines on those that are hindered by lack of infrastructure. We are fining those who knowingly ignore using zebra crossings and sky bridges.”

And he assures that “in places where there are zebra crossings and sky bridges, jaywalkers

will be fined”. He says they are

doing their job to keep the

public safe. “Do not doubt our intentions. If anybody is found guilty with proof as claimed by the media, I’m ready to face punishment. You can hit me,” he says.

Steps being taken

There should be at least 300 zebra crossings in Kathmandu Valley. There are only 47 at present.

“We discussed with the Road Division regarding zebra crossings, and they have assured us their

priority is zebra crossings,” says DIGP Lama.

Likewise, action against drivers parking their vehicles any where and street vendors selling products on footpaths are also being booked with the help of Nepal Police and Traffic Police and staff of Kathmandu Metropolitan City.

Traffic Police say

Traffic Police Constable Ajay Mandal stationed at Putalisadak opines that as compared to the first day (May 30), now (June 3) people are following traffic rules.

“On the first day, we caught many people, mostly students. They (students) told us that they haven’t eaten anything or that they were sick, so they needed to go home that’s why they crossed the road in a hurry and didn’t use the zebra crossing.”

But the scenario is a bit different now. “Now when they see us, they automatically go to the zebra crossing and cross the road from there. So, roads have become

more organised than in the past,” he informs.