Concerned residents of Doha have highlighted the lack of suitable pedestrian crossings throughout the city and the accidents that result because people have to cross busy roads.
Qatar’s system of three lane highways means that crossing roads often involves six lanes of traffic.
Inevitably the combination of busy roads and pedestrians taking risks to cross roads leads to accidents, and a reader recently contacted Gulf Times after witnessing a young child who had been hit by a car after trying to cross the road near his school.
She explained that as she was driving her own children to school she noticed a large group of people crowded together in the middle lane of D ring road.
“I was hoping it was just a crash but I sort of knew it wouldn’t be,” she said, ”because every morning I drive down there I watch parents and children running across the road to school”.
“Unfortunately it wasn’t a crash but a child in someone’s arms, covered in blood,” she noted, adding “he looked alive but in obvious distress”.
She explained that she had heard about other children being involved in accidents near schools, and expressed her bemusement at the lack of precautions being taken to ensure pedestrians’ safety.
Speaking to other Doha residents about their ability to walk around their city, Gulf Times found that all of them were concerned about the lack of safe places to cross the roads.
“It’s impossible to walk anywhere here – you end up having to cross the roads at risky points and its really dangerous,” said one person, adding “it makes even short journeys a real hardship and I do not like walking anywhere here anymore”.
Another resident said that it was unfair to leave people with no way of walking around the city, and pointed out that if someone lacks a driving licence then they really have no choice but to take risks running out into the road.
There are certain areas where precautions have been taken, such as the Corniche which has a number of pedestrian crossings, and near the City Center where roads under construction feature a number of crossings.
But areas, like D Ring Road, are notoriously difficult to cross and pose serious dangers for pedestrians.
“It is something that could be avoided so easily by building some walkways and bridges to cross busy roads,” said one reader, who added “even if more crossings were made, drivers often ignore them – something definitely needs to happen”