57,000 pedestrians hurt in PH road accidents in a decade: DOH

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 04 2021 06:39 PM

Bike commuters cycle alongside cars in Quezon City, Philippines, October 26, 2020. Kimberly dela Cruz, The New York Times/File

MANILA - At least 57,000 pedestrians in the Philippines have been hit by vehicles in 10 years, the Department of Health (DOH) said Tuesday, as the agency pushed for the improvement in road safety in the country.

Between 2005 and 2015, 18,586 pedestrians were injured in motorcycle accidents, while 13,134 were hit by private cars, according to data from the DOH.

There were also 403 pedestrians who died after being hit by cars, and 341 others who figured in truck-related accidents.

"Road crashes are the most common cause of injury to Filipinos," said Health Director Beverly Lorraine Ho, noting that 44 percent of fatalities in during rod crashes are pedestrians.

"There has been an upward trend in the number of road crash incidents as motor vehicle usage and ownership increase," she said in an online press conference to mark the celebration of the Philippines' Road Safety Month.

Side guards that would prevent motorcycle riders from being swept under trucks should also be a requirement for "large trucks with huge wheels and blind spots," she said.

Ho said the DOH is backing the suggestion of a non-profit organization to develop more bike lanes and reduce the use of elevated foot bridges to lessen pedestrian injuries in the country.

The national government should consider "ground level passageways for pedestrians" as there are several pedestrians who have no capacity to go up or down several steps, said Robert Siy, co-convenor of the Move as One Coalition.

"'Yung portion na hindi nakakaakyat ng stairways (Those who cannot climb stairways), they will not be prevented from crossing," Siy said, noting that this is usually the cause of jay walking.

The government should instead place a pedestrian crossing at every intersection, he said.

"This is one way they can manage the flow of vehicles and accommodate pedestrians on major roads," he said.

"We have to revise the way we use roads in order to give more space back to cyclists and pedestrians," he said.

Nationwide, only 10 percent of Filipino household owns cars, Siy said.

A November 2020 survey also showed that 87 percent of Filipinos "want priority on roads for public transportation, bicycles and pedestrians over private vehicles," he said.

"Whether we own a motor vehicle or not, we are all pedestrians... So this really gives [the government] the mandate to shift our priorities [in road use]," he said.

Siy noted that the national government has sufficient funds to improve safer roads that prioritize pedestrians.

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) has P350-million budget for the construction of green spaces and active transport under the 2021 budget, he said.

The agency can also tap its P17-billion allocation for access roads to tourism sites for the construction of pedestrian-friendly roads, he said.

The DOH is still consolidating data on how many Filipinos may have been infected with COVID-19 while in trains, buses and other modes of public transportation, Ho said.

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