Forty-seven of the 91 people killed on Western Cape roads from 1-21 December were pedestrians. File photo: Reaction Unit South Africa
Cape Town - They don't drink and drive, but that doesn’t make them responsible citizens, because they cross busy roads and get run over.

Close to 60 percent of the pedestrians killed since the beginning of December had consumed one or more alcoholic drinks at the time of their death.

Transport and public works MEC Donald Grant said the problem persists with pedestrians.

“It is very difficult with pedestrians, especially the ones who drink," he said. "The problem is big in the metro area where people are seen walking on the highways. This has also contributed to the high rate of deaths we have had on our roads.

“We have seen people walking under a footbridge on the highway and that is the problem. We need to look at spatial planning, because people will always take the shortest route to get to their destination. When they walk drunk, that is even worse.”

Many people cross busy highways, avoiding bridges and walkways, they say, because of muggings. File photo: Courtney Africa / INLSA

In December alone 91 people have been killed on Western Cape roads, ranging from drivers, bikers and passengers to 47 pedestrians. Grant said his biggest concern was the rural parts of the province.

“We have launched our campaigns here as thousands leave the metro," he said. "The problems persists in the metro area, but we have seen horrific crashes in the area outside of the metro.”

Mayoral committee member for safety, security and social services JP Smith said the pedestrian issue is extremely difficult to enforce.

“We have had traffic patrols focusing on pedestrians," he said. "Many times the pedestrians we speak to tell us that they are the target of criminals in their area and that is why they walk on the freeway. Walking on a freeway is much more dangerous though.”

'Let them sleep it off'

Smith said fines can be issued to pedestrians but many of them don’t carry identification.

“Many a time we just lock them up and let them sleep it off. Other times we issue fines, because it is illegal to walk on the highway. For those who drink in the road and behave disorderly, we also issue fines or jail them,” he said.

Smith also said the justice system is tripping them up when it comes to enforcement.

“There are numerous issues with the legislation we have to work with,” he said.

Cape Argus