A group of pedestrian advocates in the city have proposed that Jan. 22 be known as Pedestrians’ Day in remembrance of the nine pedestrians who were killed in a recent fatal accident in Central Jakarta.
Glenn Marsalim and Marco Kusumawijaya, who have used the Twitter account @JalanKaki to promote walking habits among Jakartans, have been campaigning for the official recognition of the date as the Day of the Pedestrian.
On Sunday, Jan. 22, a black minivan swerved off Jl. M.I. Ridwan Rais in Central Jakarta, while traveling at around 100 kilometers per hour, and ran into pedestrians, killing nine and injuring four others. The deadly accident has sparked public outrage against the reckless driver, who has been confirmed to have been under the influence of drugs when she lost control of the vehicle.
Marco said the tragedy showed that pedestrians were constantly under real threat in Jakarta, which has few proper and safe sidewalks. Any time, he said, motorists can suddenly occupy the sidewalks and harm pedestrians.
“Pedestrians’ Day is not only a tribute to the victims, but also for other pedestrians. Jakarta city-walkers have lost the convenience of walking for too long,” he said Wednesday as quoted by tempo.co.
Marco admitted that it would be too much to expect the government to officiate Pedestrians’ Day as one of the national days. Yet, he hoped that the campaign would raise the awareness of the city administration and motorists. “Proper and safe sidewalks are everyone’s right.”
The campaign has been well-received on Twitter. Several prominent figures, including writer Ayu Utami and noted architect Ridwan Kamil, have expressed their support.
Glenn said Thursday that campaigning for Pedestrians’ Day, as well as encouraging the Jakarta administration to improve the quality of the sidewalks were ways to take lessons from the tragedy. “On Twitter, we campaign for the improvement of the sidewalks rather than blaming the driver.”
He said that the campaign was worth more than swearwords directed at the driver.
Apart from campaigning for a dedicated day for pedestrians, Glenn said that he planned to visit the site of the accident on Saturday night. “I will walk from Jl. Rasuna Said to Jl. M.I. Ridwan to visit the site. It is my personal effort, but I welcome anyone who wants to join me,” he said.
Glenn said the tragedy should not deter pedestrians from continuing their habits. He suggested that it would be better for them to bring up the tragedy to remind the Jakarta administration that it had a lot to do to ensure the safety of pedestrians in the capital.
– The Jakarta Post