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China Daily Website

Jaywalkers fined in N China

Updated: 2012-10-24 19:36
( Xinhua)

SHIJIAZHUANG - A new campaign initiated by the government of the city of Shijiazhuang in north China's Hebei province will make pedestrians think twice about jaywalking.

Fines of 5 to 50 yuan ($0.80 to $8) will be levied on people who cross pedestrian walkways when the light is red as part of a two-month traffic safety campaign initiated by the city's civilization office and traffic management bureau on Tuesday.

It is common for pedestrians in most Chinese cities to ignore traffic regulations, with large crowds of people crossing against red lights on a regular basis.

One of the city's traffic monitors recently reported that about 600 people jaywalked within one hour at one of the city's intersections.

Wu Ruiqi, director of the traffic management bureau, said the first three people within a given group of jaywalkers at major intersections will be fined 5 to 50 yuan, while entire groups of jaywalkers at smaller intersections will be fined.

Traffic police, coordinators and volunteers have been sent to 400 intersections across the city to enforce the new rule, Wu said.

Those who cannot afford the fines will be given the option of volunteering to guide traffic and pedestrians at one of the targeted intersections or receive related education instead, Wu said.

Some people have been skeptical of the new rule, while others have given it some praise.

"The first three people in a group? How many police officers and volunteers do they need to keep watch along the streets? It's a waste of manpower and resources," said Beijing university student Li Bo, adding that the fine is too low to act as an effective deterrent.

Beijing resident Zhou Jie said the penalties simply act as a warning, adding that local governments should build more pedestrian-friendly infrastructure, such as overhead and underground walkways, to alleviate the problem.