Friday, June 25, 2021 | Dhu al-Qaadah 14, 1442 H
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Blog: Only 'when the green man is lit’


Najah al Riyami

We have, as a nation, been shocked and troubled to read the sad news about the two-year-old who lost her life while crossing the roads with her mother in Ruwi. It was an unfortunate accident and a heartbreaking tragedy, one that no one would want on anyone, one that none should have to go through. But as we mourn the loss of this young girl, perhaps empathetic with thoughts of our own loved ones in mind, our own children, our own experiences crossing busy roads. I can’t help but wonder if it could have been avoided. 

I found myself asking whether people were following the protocols of the zebra crossing that afternoon. I found myself asking whether the car was speeding, and how they could not have seen the child and her mother crossing the road. 

‘It is not right. It is not right” I hear myself saying, looking for a flaw or a reason to hold onto, to blame rather, from which this tragedy unravelled. 

But no, there are zebra crossings, I was told. And the car involved was not speeding. 

So why did it happen?

Ruwi is busy area with many shops and commercial venues and eating places on either side of this busy road, would this tragedy have been avoided if a better system for crossing roads was adopted? Would this tragedy have been avoided if the speed limit on the road was reduced, or if perhaps, speed bumps were implemented on the roads directly between the busiest shops, the places people are most likely to cross? at least prompting cars to slow down just that little bit more, to perhaps save from future tragedies such as this one unravelling? 

The truth is tragedy happens. It is written, and in the end we can’t change it. It will not change what has happened. But what we can do is try harder, we can be more mindful when driving, to keep a watchful eye for potential people crossing the roads. We can put our phones away when driving, to answer or check that message once you reach your destination. We can, as teachers, or parents, or nanny’s, teach our children to only cross ‘when the green man is lit’ or on zebra crossings, and to still look both ways before crossing. 

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