Authorities in Zurich and Winterthur have recorded 13 accidents on crosswalks in just one month, leaving one woman dead and 12 others injured, some of them seriously.

"/> Authorities in Zurich and Winterthur have recorded 13 accidents on crosswalks in just one month, leaving one woman dead and 12 others injured, some of them seriously.

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ACCIDENT

Swiss anger over spate of crosswalk accidents

Authorities in Zurich and Winterthur have recorded 13 accidents on crosswalks in just one month, leaving one woman dead and 12 others injured, some of them seriously.

Hardly a day goes by in Switzerland at the moment without a serious accident involving a pedestrian. Swiss media have been raising awareness in recent days, especially after a report released on December 6th showed that half of zebra crossings in the country are dangerous.

The Swiss Touring Club (TCS) presented worrying conclusions after examining 100 crosswalks in 10 different cities this year: only 45 were judged “satisfactory” in terms of safety. The other 55 were rated “insufficient” or “very inadequate.”

Tests performed by the TCS were based on specific criteria such as design, length, signs, markings, lights, traffic islands, and maintenance. Visibility at day and night, accessibility, especially for people with disabilities, and the existence of potential barriers were also assessed.

There are between 40,000 and 50,000 pedestrian crossings in Switzerland. Gianantonio Scaramuzza, from the Council for Accident Prevention, also pointed out that “about half of them are designed wrongly, are obsolete or incomplete,” Tages Anzeiger reported.

In 2010, 20 people were killed on pedestrian crossings. However, according to Scaramuzza, safety on crosswalks has been significantly improved since the 1980s. In the last 30 years, there has been a 25 percent reduction in the number of accidents, he told Tages Anzeiger.

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GENEVA

‘A declaration of war’: Why France and Geneva are feuding over new motorway plans

Opponents of the new motorway say it’s unnecessary and will cause pollution, while supporters argue that any attempt to stop the motorway would amount to a “declaration of war”.

'A declaration of war': Why France and Geneva are feuding over new motorway plans
Photo: MEHDI FEDOUACH / AFP

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe recently approved a motorway development between Machilly and Thonon-les-Bains. According to Le Parisien, the development will be targeted at ‘opening up the Chablais region’. 

Swiss authorities oppose the plan, saying it is unnecessary – particularly after the recent completion of the Léman Express rail network, which was built to decongest the entire region. 

Philippe d'Espine, spokesman for the city of Geneva, told Le Parisien that the French motorway plan was “nonsense”. 

“This highway section is really not essential and will directly compete with the Léman Express,” he said. 

Tens of thousands of workers live in the region and commute into Geneva daily for work.

Almost half a million vehicles – 446,700 to be exact – crossed into Geneva each day in 2018, as estimated by the Canton of Geneva.

Nine out of ten of the 90,000 border workers who travel into Geneva do so by car. 

As reported by The Local in December 2019, the Léman Express cut travel times significantly for many workers while also reducing costs considerably. Geneva residents lost an estimated 138 hours per year due to traffic. 

READ: How the new Léman Express train link will ease Geneva's traffic woes 

But the opposition to the plan has not only come from the Swiss side of the border. French environmentalists have also spoken out against the plan, saying it would unnecessarily reduce pollution in the area. 

READ: Why Switzerland's roads are among the safest in the world

French politician Christian Monteil, who has campaigned for the new motorway for over a decade, not stopping to mince his words as he spoke out against the Swiss authorities.

Monteil said any attempt to stop the motorway would be considered a “declaration of war”. 

“If an appeal is filed, we will launch counter actions to block Geneva. And we will call all elected officials of Chablais, all Chablaisiens and Chablaisiennes, to join us on Swiss territory.”

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