Civil disobedience or stupidity at its worst

By Aruna Lolani ,

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THEY CANT SEE THE SIGN: There are always people crossing this road when no officer is on duty.

THEY CANT SEE THE SIGN: There are always people crossing this road when no officer is on duty. (Photo: Tori Unoi)

It’s a ticking time bomb. 

Others say it’s an accident waiting to happen.

They are referring to a stretch of road on Beach Road – in between the S.N.P.F. Plaza and the former Agriculture Store building - with a big sign telling members of the public that it is not a pedestrian crossing.

But nobody cares. 

Everyone uses it as a pedestrian crossing, creating much confusion and chaos for motorists and road workers alike.

 Police spokesperson, Su’a Muliaga Tiumalu, admits that the area is problematic. He also shares fears about someone being killed if they are not careful.

Speaking to the Samoa Observer, he said all they could do right now is to ensure the safety of the public by sending out Police officers everyday to monitor the area.

And when the Police officers are present, members of the public obey.

Many people then proceed to use the traffic lights to cross.

But it is when there are no Police officers, or Land Transport Authority Traffic Officers when the crossing becomes an issue again.

Situated across the road, the owner of Todahs café, Tori Unoi, said the issue should be addressed urgently to avoid someone being hurt.

He said he witnesses the situation everyday and becomes especially dangerous when mothers drag their babies and children in front of speeding vehicles, zooming back and forth.

“There is a large ‘no crossing’ sign and now there’s a barrier to try and cut people from crossing,” he said. 

ON THE JOB: Police officer keeping public safe by doing his job.
ON THE JOB: Police officer keeping public safe by doing his job.

“L.T.A and police officers are there everyday telling people they cannot cross anymore.”

And yet people refuse to listen.

“The police cannot be out there all day due to the heat and breaks so people would not be told to cross,” said Mr. Unoi. 

“When they’re gone, the people get right back to crossing. The problem is when they cross they expect the cars to stop while they take ten years to walk across.”

Mr. Unoi’s frustrations are shared by many motorists.

Tavita Lui told the Samoa Observer that it is only a matter of time before someone is killed there.

“This is an accident waiting to happen, it’s a ticking time bomb,” he said. “One of these days a speeding vehicle will hit a pedestrian and then we will know how dangerous that place is.”

Mr. Lui suggests the government should consider a couple of options.

“The first thing is to set up a pedestrian crossing at that very area,” he said. “I think people are just so used to crossing there that in their minds they cross without thinking."

“The other option is to start introducing fines for people who disobey the rule and cross there. It’s sounds harsh but it might save someone’s life.”

Yesterday, L.T.A and Police officers took turns at the area.

But as soon as they left, people went back to their old ways.

They lazily walked across the road, as if they own it.

© Samoa Observer 2016

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