Thursday, 3 November 2011

Dangerous pitfalls by keeping the money out of Soi Kebsap, Patong

Nowadays w're used to companies applying signs such as "Attention: wet floor" or "Danger: construction area" and so on.
Besides warning the public another main concern is to prevent liability for possible injury claims.
Patong's Soi Kebsap also transliterated as Soi Kebsup, which ironically means street of keeping money, is a popular shortcut  for beachgoers from one of the many hotels in the town center of the most popular tourist destination of Phuket.
Besides the fact that the street is in a bad condition as a whole, a 40 by 50cm open drainage pit which has been there for at least three months now (although some locals claim five months), has meanwhile become a new landmark of negligence.
It would seem obvious to blame the department of publics works, was it not that the whole street is owned by a single company. And since they constructed it, they are responsible for parts of the infrastructure and maintenance such as the street as well.
Repair works for the pit are estimated to be ฿4500 (€106 /$146), not a great deal one would say, however the owner of Soi Kebsap has so far remained reluctant to take any action.
Renters and mostly shop owners of the buildings nearby are fed up with the resulting accidents and frequent near-accidents. The poor condition of the street has a negative impact on the neighbourhood. Recently a few individuals atttempted to take matters into own hands and proposed to jointly pay for repairing the pit.
They proposed to share costs, paying  ฿500 each. Problem is that some people refuse to cooperate, since they feel the street is not their property. Also paying for road damage would possibly create a precedent for more neglection by the owner in the future. As a result the initiators couldn't come up with the required minimum of nine participants, so now the deal is over and once again nothing is being done.
Whereas in the last month the spot has been marked by some individuals in a rather poor way, making it more or less visible in the day-time only, several accidents both in day- and night-time have occured.
Although the real number of accidents is much higher, ie. a local resident claims to have witnessed 17 accidents, seven of which involved injuries. Personally I witnessed at least two cases where cars got one of their wheels stuck in the hole both resulting in visual damage to the vehicle.
More serious accidents occured when at least two people recently got injured.
Today I saw how an older tourist fell in. A few minutes later with the help of some bystanders he was able to walk away with a cut wound in his leg.
Reportedly in another case a German tourist recently walking at the spot at night, fell in the pit resulting in leg and head injury which needed medical care.
By law the owner of Soi Kebsap can be held fully liable for any damage and injuries caused by severe neglectance of common sense safety standards.
At the entrances of Soi Kebsap there are no "Danger: private street, enter at own risk" warning signs, so
unsuspecting non-residents and tourists do not know whether they are entering one of the public streets
which are being inspected and maintained by the city or a private street where in this case  the owner seems to lack any common sense regarding a potential hazard which could easily be solved for a mere ฿4500.
In my opinion the owner can succesfully be prosecuted should more severe accident happen in the future, a thing which is almost unavoidable in the current situation.
One could also argue that Patong city council is indirectly responsible for not demanding the company to comply with general public safety standards by enforcing the company to do the nescesarry repair work needed to make Soi Kebsap and Patong a safer place.

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