Jaywalkers tread with care
Updated: 2013-05-09 08:01
By He Na, Zhang Yuchen and Peng Yining (China Daily)
Traffic police in many parts of the country have launched a campaign to strengthen punishments for jaywalkers. [Photo by You You / for China Daily]
Offenses expected to decline with introduction of fines, report He Na, Zhang Yuchen and Peng Yining in Beijing.
A red light and crowd of pedestrians rushing across the street: It's a common sight in Beijing. However, the frequency of jaywalking is expected to decline following a new regulation that allows police to fine those who cross the road recklessly, either on foot or by bike.
The new rule, which came into force on Monday, means jaywalking comes at a price - 10 yuan ($1.60) for pedestrians and 20 yuan for cyclists. Twenty thousand people were fined during a monthlong trial to assess the feasibility of the ruling.
"To further regulate jaywalkers, the traffic police have improved the infrastructure at 150 major intersections in the capital, and extra staff are being deployed there during rush hours. Many jaywalkers have been fined on the spot," said Jiang Jing, a spokeswoman for Beijing Traffic Management Bureau.
To ensure that pedestrians have enough time to cross the road safely, the bureau has conducted a review of traffic lights at the specified intersections to optimize the timing and duration of red and green lights.
"We adjusted and extended the duration of green lights at some junctions that experience a large numbers of pedestrians, such as those near hospitals and schools," said Jiang. "And at certain junctions where the heavy traffic flow often prevents pedestrians from crossing, we've already formulated plans to optimize the traffic flow and will deploy extra staff to help if necessary."
To further emphasize the authority of the traffic police and traffic wardens, the bureau has equipped wardens with flags and bullhorns so they can direct pedestrians and cyclists and remind them of the rules.
"Before the fine on pedestrians and cyclists was introduced on May 6, we had already been emphasizing the rules at my intersection for a month. Banners with slogans on them were set up at the intersection to remind people at the crosswalk to obey the lights, and also to educate those who ignore the lights," said Hu Yali, 55, a traffic officer at the Nanluoguxiang crossroad in Beijing.
"The promotion had some impact. The number of people who ignore the lights is much lower than before," said Hu, who voiced her support for the new system.