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Friday, June 18, 2021

Safety concerns raised after taxi hits pedestrian outside Qatar mall

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Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

A Mowasalat taxi cab struck and possibly killed a pedestrian outside of City Center Mall late yesterday afternoon, witnesses have said.

One onlooker said that the individual had been trapped beneath the vehicle, while another witness saw emergency responders on the scene and a person covered in a white sheet.

Accident outside City Center mall
Accident outside City Center mall

Video footage from after the accident showed a turquoise taxi stopped approximately 10 feet in front of a signalized pedestrian crossing.

An onlooker can be heard exclaiming on the video that someone is trapped under the car.

Several individuals who said they knew the victim posted on Facebook that the pedestrian had died, but that information could not be confirmed.

When reached for comment, City Center officials told Doha News that the incident took place off the mall’s property, and that security guards were asked by police to move away from the scene.

The collision appears to have taken place on the road adjacent to the mall’s old taxi stand.

Cabs picking up passengers were ordered to relocate to the shopping center’s parking garage last year due to traffic congestion and pedestrian safety concerns.

Pedestrian safety

It’s not clear what caused the incident, which appears to have occurred in the vicinity of a designated crosswalk.

Construction outside City Center.
Construction outside City Center.

However, some residents say the combination of fast-moving vehicles and the lack of sidewalks – exacerbated by the ongoing construction on the east side of City Center around several new hotels – makes them feel unsafe when walking in the area.

“I have a baby in a stroller and I have to walk in the middle of the street,” wrote resident Maria Grepsiou-Bergman in a recent Facebook post.

“I have seen people in wheelchairs as well going in the middle of the street … This is unacceptable.”

Pedestrians make up approximately one-quarter of all road crash fatalities in Qatar, according to government figures released by Ministry of Transport consultants.

Some 68 pedestrians died last year in Qatar, up from 62 in 2013 and 58 in 2012.

In an effort to make it safer to traverse Doha on foot, the ministry is preparing plans to construct pedestrian routes free from obstacles between major destinations, as well as identifying the 50 areas where proper crossings are most needed.

Consultants have been asked residents for their feedback this fall and told Doha News last month that they were hearing a common theme:

“The overall view of residents is that pedestrians aren’t given a high enough priority,” John Payne, a principal traffic engineer at consulting firm Mott MacDonald, said in November. “People are concerned that they can’t cross the road safely.”

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