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Road crashes: disasters waiting to happen

May 2012
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While I’m very appreciative of the efforts of the MMDA particularly on traffic management, there is still much to be desired regarding enforcement around Metro Manila. These include the need for consistent and firm enforcement of traffic rules and regulations along major roads such as Commonwealth, EDSA, and C5. There are still many instances of speeding along Commonwealth as many drivers (cars and buses) and riders (motorcycles) are already aware of the usual positions of MMDA enforcers measuring speed along the highway.

In the vicinity of current and former U-turn slots, there are also many violations especially where motorcycles can squeeze into openings to conveniently (though dangerously) make turns. Some U-turn slots are positioned across side streets of major roads and are used by motorists for making left turns. Often, one will find vehicles inching their way to cross the major road, effectively blocking through traffic. This is particularly the case along Katipunan just across from the gate of an exclusive subdivision well-known for its politician residents. While the Katipunan – C.P. Garcia intersection is only a few meters away for those intending to travel along the southbound side of C5, many vehicles (conspicuously those which are expensive and of the luxury type) cross C5 northbound to make left turns at the U-turn slot/median opening. A few meters away, MMDA enforcers and QC Police turn blind eyes to the practice, leaving motorists to fend for themselves in trying to avoid each others’ vehicles while also trying not to constrict traffic.

Such situations increase the likelihood for road crashes in the area, exposing people to unnecessary risks. These also exacerbate traffic congestion as crossing vehicles interrupt the otherwise smooth (and continuous) flow of traffic towards C.P. Garcia. Such situations are also perfect examples for cases where there may not be crashes occurring but there is a high likelihood for incidents to happen. Crashes waiting to happen seem too theoretical that the MMDA and the PNP apparently have difficulties understanding the concept, which is the basis for assessments of road safety including the star ratings given out by iRAP. It is not necessarily only the actual number of crashes (or accidents) occurring that is evaluated but the likelihood for them to happen given the conditions at any particular area. Perhaps this is why many of our roads remain unsafe because many of our administrators, planners, engineers and enforcers continue to fail to understand this concept for the potential for crash occurrence. And this is where we should work on to address – very hard!

The following photo was taken one early morning along Katipunan prior to the peak period that typically starts around 6:30AM during times when there are classes at the schools along this stretch of C5.

Early morning road crash near the La Vista gate along Katipunan (C5) involving vehicles encroaching towards the U-turn slot to make a left turn at the median opening.

Perhaps we should also extend our appreciation of the concept of disaster risk prevention and mitigation to our streets. After all, road crashes may also be treated as disasters. They result in deaths, injuries and damages to property. The only difference and probably more frightening aspect of these disasters on the road is that they do occur on a much more frequent basis than you major earthquakes and typhoons.


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