With reporting from Reem Alamri
Students at Qatar University are expressing anger and grief following the death of a man who was struck and killed in a parking lot at the school yesterday.
The deceased, who was the father of a QU student and is thought to be in his early 70s, was apparently walking in the carpark when a female faculty member hit him with her car, possibly while reversing.
In a statement sent to the QU community and posted on Twitter, QU President Prof. Sheikha Abdulla Al-Misnad said:
“I have long dreaded that the day would come when I would have to write this email. It is with great sadness that I inform you of a tragic road accident that resulted in the death of a parent on our campus yesterday.
As we pray for the deceased, wishing his family patience and strength, we must also be reminded that it is the duty of each and every one of us to do what they can to keep our campus a safe environment for everyone. I extend my thanks to the Medical Clinic and our security personnel, the ambulance staff and the police for their prompt response and professionalism.”
According to some community members, the faculty member had not been speeding or violating any road rules.
But the accident has nonetheless struck a chord with many students, who say people should drive more safely on campus.
Under the hashtag #جامعة_قطر, many conveyed their condolences to the deceased’s family, and some called for increased safety measures on campus, such as pedestrian crossings.
On QU’s Facebook page, one student said:
“The problem is everyone is driving like they drive in normal street forgetting that campus street has more pedestrian movement. Also (the) university (is to) blame because it’s building (colleges) away from each other and separated by streets. Finally, الله يرحمه ويصبر اهله.”
However, some students said now was not the time to criticize QU. Speaking to Doha News, a college student studying English said:
“It saddens me that this has happened and I’m very sorry for the man’s family, however, I don’t think it’s appropriate to use this horrible accident to attack the university. It is also not the time to make all those suggestions to improve the roads because it’s insensitive and inappropriate in the family’s time of grief.”
Pedestrians are particularly vulnerable in Qatar, where constant construction, few sidewalks and an abundance of speeding vehicles are common problems. Last year, 80 people, mostly Asian expats, were killed while crossing roads here, and more than 200 were hospitalized with severe injuries.
This latest accident at QU comes days after a child at Doha College – West Bay was struck by a car while crossing the street with her mother. The girl was taken to the hospital, but released shortly afterwards with no injuries.
In a separate incident early this week, two adult pedestrians were struck by a car outside of Newton British School in Al Wabb.
Newton declined to comment about the accident to Doha News, saying it was a police matter. But parents there said that one of the people who was hit is undergoing surgery.
And yesterday, an Egyptian man was apparently killed after being struck by a car on Salwa Road, Gulf Times reports.
To help reduce pedestrian mortalities in Qatar, the Ministry of Interior offered these tips to residents in August.
And public works authority Ashghal said earlier this year that it had issued QR600 million worth of road safety upgrades, including new pedestrian overpasses, better street signage and construction of additional lanes.
Improving safety in school zones was also listed as a the top priority.