Police told to get tough on motorcycles on sidewalks
An NGO says it will sue the Jakarta Police in June if they fail to enforce a law to ensure the safety of pedestrians, particularly from motorcyclists riding on sidewalks.
“If they don’t enforce the law, we will likely sue them because they have neglected their duty,” Pedestrian Coalition co-founder Ahmad Syafrudin said after a discussion involving the Jakarta Police and other city officials in Jakarta on Tuesday.
The discussion was attended by representatives of various NGOs and Jakarta administration officials from agencies such as the Jakarta Environment Management Board and the City Development Planning Board (Bappeda).
According to Ahmad, the Jakarta Police made a promise during a meeting on Tuesday to enforce the 2009 Traffic Law by ticketing motorcyclists driving on pavements.
The meeting was attended by Jakarta Police traffic directorate operations chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Budiyanto.
Ahmad said pedestrians could not easily walk on sidewalks due to motorcyclists traveling on the pavement, despite article of the law stipulating that pedestrian use of sidewalks should not be hindered.
Vendors also set up shop on sidewalks, preventing pedestrians from walking without obstruction, he said.
At Tuesday’s discussion, the group also demanded that the city administration provide more designated crosswalks for pedestrians, instead of encouraging people to use footbridges to cross busy thoroughfares.
“The administration has been unfair in encouraging pedestrians to go up and down an elevated bridge to cross a street while facilitating motorists to speed up below,” Ahmad said.
Pedestrians, he added, had the right to safely cross a street using a crosswalk instead of a bridge.
Another participant in the discussion, Andi Rahmah, a transportation researcher from the Committee for Leaded Gasoline Eradication (KPBB), said that the administration should pay more attention to pedestrian rights.
According to a survey conducted in 2010, the number of pedestrians, bicyclists and public-transportation users accounted for 35.5 percent of the total number of street users and was higher than those who commuted using private cars, she said.
“Therefore, the city administration should provide better facilities for pedestrians and public-transportation users,” she said.
More people would become pedestrians or use public transportation if the administration provided better facilities, which would help relieve the city’s worsening traffic congestion, according to Andi.
The Jakarta Parks and Cemeteries Agency has plans to improve several sidewalks, although it has not said if the improvements would meet international standards.
The agency’s chief, Catharina Suryowati, said recently that it would invest around Rp 10 billion (US$1.1 million) to renovate sidewalks along main streets in Central Jakarta, such as Jl. Gajah Mada, Jl. Hayam Wuruk, Jl. Cikini Raya, Jl. Sabang and Jl. M.I. Ridwan Rais. (riz)