SWOV Catalogus


Analysis of trends in fatal accidents of vulnerable road users in Sri Lanka.
C 45721 (In: C 45677 [electronic version only]) /81 / ITRD E217824
Jayaratne, M.D.R.P. & Kumarage, A.S.
In: Proceedings the 13th International Conference on Road Safety on Four Continents, Warsaw, Poland 5-7 October 2005, 12 p., 12 ref.

Samenvatting Road accidents have become a noticeable social problem in Sri Lanka. According to police records, there are over a 1,000 road accidents per week with 5 to 6 people being killed every day. Among the victims of road accidents, the pedestrians, cyclists and motor cyclists are the most vulnerable roads users in Sri Lanka. The risk of these unprotected road users in road traffic is considerably higher than for other vehicle occupants. This paper attempts to analyze and describe these vulnerable road users with respect to many parameters. The detailed analysis was carried out using detailed police accidents records for the years 2001 and 2002. In addition to the above accident data, historical data pertaining to accidents from year 1977 to 2002 and related socioeconomic indicators were used in this research. According to the statistics, 37 per cent of accident fatalities were pedestrians in year 2002 and most of them had to pay with their life, not because of their fault but often due to the fault of motorist. According to the analysis only 5 per cent of pedestrians are at fault for the accident. This means that the motorist has been responsible for the pedestrian's death in 95 per cent of the cases. Furthermore, the smaller vehicles such as motor cycles and 3 wheelers are those that are more frequently involved in collisions with pedestrians. However, larger vehicles such as light vehicles, buses and lorries are mostly involved in pedestrian fatalities. Although, the motor cycle had the highest number of pedestrian accidents, it was ranked in fourth place for fatal accidents. This demonstrates that smaller vehicles are most involved in pedestrian fatalities, while it is the collisions with the larger vehicles that results in fatalities. Another alarming concern is that 1 in 11 serious accidents and 1 in 6 pedestrian deaths have been reported as 'hit and run'. Most of these were accidents involving mostly motor cycles and light vehicles. Furthermore, it is found that half of the pedestrian fatalities have occurred while crossing the road, but not on a marked pedestrian crossing. Another one third of all pedestrian deaths and injuries occurred while walking along the edge of the road or the shoulder or sidewalk. The bicycle and motor cycle users are the most vulnerable vehicle users on our roads today. The vulnerability with respect to each km of road traveled by users of different vehicles shows that the bicycle and motor cycle users have much higher fatality rates than users of any other vehicle type. And when analyzed further, it was found that 4 per cent motor cyclist fatalities and 11 per cent of cyclist fatalities were also the result of hit and run cases. Further analysis of motor cyclists revealed that not wearing a helmet is another main cause of the death of motor cycle riders. In general it is seen that the bigger vehicle (or road user) is responsible for an accident with a smaller road user. The light vehicle, private bus, lorry and motor cycle are the most dangerous vehicle types. As such, special attention on driving habits of these drivers, which jeopardize the pedestrian, appears to be an important strategic intervention. Controlling speeds through physical measures such as speed reducing devices in areas where there is heavy pedestrian activity and by enforcement methods in other areas is highly recommended to address this problem of speed related accidents. However in the case of injury or death to riders of motor cycles and drivers of vehicles, the person injured or killed has also been held responsible in the majority of instances (A). For the covering abstract of the conference see E217780.
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