Pedestrians on the nation’s highways continue to be a major problem. So far this year 21 have died in mishaps with vehicles.
The PolicÌa de Tránsito generally blames a pedestrian when the individual is hit by a car. The person was crossing at the wrong spot dressed in dark clothing and doing so in the driving rain, they say.
Pedestrians have no special rights on the Costa Rican roads. Motorists do not yield to them when making right or left turns. In rural areas, many roadways have little or no shoulder, so walkers have to do so in the traffic lane.
Traffic police expressed pleasure Tuesday that the pedestrian road death toll this year was four less than in the same period in the previous year. They have issued yellow bracelets for pedestrians which are supposed to make them more visible.
Mario Calderón, director of the traffic police, said that with the arrival of the rainy season and children back in school after midyear vacation, there is a greater risk of vehicle-pedestrian mishaps.
To some extent pedestrians do bring mishaps on themselves in many situations. Some refuse to use the pedestrian bridges and cross four- and six-lane highways on foot dodging cars. Even street vendors wear dark clothing that makes them nearly invisible after dusk. Others cross in the middle of the block ignoring crosswalks and traffic signals.
Motorists also are at fault when they jump the red light, speed or deliberately try to hit pedestrians, which seems to be a hobby among some of the young.
Calderén noted that many youngsters carry cell telephones and they have the opportunity to turn on the flashlight of the cell telephone when they are walking in a dark area.