A 67-year-old woman has died after being struck by a taxi driven by a 61-year-old in Yau Ma Tei last night, the fourth pedestrian fatality in two weeks and the fifth known road casualty of May.
At about 6:01pm taxi driver Mr Chan was travelling west on Ferry Street when his taxi smashed into Ms Leung who was crossing the road.
Leung was flung in the air and, suffering multiple injuries, was sent to Kwong Wah Hospital unconscious, where she was declared dead at 6:46pm. The taxi driver and his passenger suffered minor injuries.
Police arrested driver Chan for dangerous driving causing death.
Multiple local media reports blame the woman for choosing to cross the highway rather than using the footbridge between Cherry Street Park and Soy Street.
But while the highway indeed appears a dangerous place to cross, the trade-off between road safety and pedestrian convenience has been long discussed in academic literature. In 2018 in the Journal of Advanced Transportation, Beijing researcher Chong Wei writes “…the inconveniences of longer travel distance contributed by up-down movements [of pedestrian bridges] and of higher body movements requirement may prevent elderly pedestrians from using them.”
And the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy has written a scathing attack on pedestrian bridges, claiming they “reinforce a mentality that drivers can drive as quickly as they like” and “absolving drivers of responsibility as the bridges send the message that pedestrians shouldn’t be on the street”.
“Due to the hostile design of these bridges, pedestrians often forego using them and instead cross the roads underneath them. Pedestrians make decisions based on their environment: if their behavior is risky, it is often the result of inconvenient or inadequate infrastructure rather than poor decision-making,” writes ITDP.
Leung is the fourth pedestrian to be killed in the last two weeks: on 8 May, a 74-year old man was struck and killed by a red minibus on Argyle Street while two days later another minibus killed another 74-year-old man in Yuen Long. And three days ago, a Tesla driver struck and killed a 57-year-old woman on a pedestrian crossing in Fanling.
Transport Department (TD) says 2,607 pedestrians were injured by vehicles in 2021, up 20% on 2020. TD has not yet released a detailed breakdown of how many pedestrians were killed or seriously injured.
Pedestrians made up 54% of fatal road crash victims in 2020, with 71% of those over 60.