Pedestrians Bullied Again
Over 60 % of victims in road accidents are Pedestrians and riders of two wheelers. These are no ‘accidents’. The system of planning and implementation of roads systems is a sure recipe for pedestrian deaths.As on date, the entire road systems in India have been and continue to be designed with a distinct bias towards vehicular movement.
The basic acceptance that a living city has human beings, animals, vegetation and buildings, all in a state of flux is forgotten in the frenzy for accommodating speeding vehicles of various hues and dimensions. As per the current perverted thinking, the fastest vehicles get the first priority in all stages of planning and execution of road projects. The slower moving vehicles are down the ladder and the public transport system is the last to figure in any transport concept and road engineering.
Cyclists and Pedestrians are hardly considered, except as a nuisance in the discussion and planning forums. This has lead to a state of affairs where crores are spent on massive engineering projects of multilane highways, throughways, bypasses, and innumerable flyovers with little or no thought about the presence of very slow moving vehicles and pedestrians.
Bulk of the population moves by public transport and on foot over short or long distances. Even those using public transport have still to cover the distance from their homes or places of work to various nodes and hubs on foot. Walking along roads and crossing roads is an integral part of this pedestrian – transport linkage.
Roads and flyovers that have been planned and built have not taken the need and necessity of the major quantum of road users. There are roads kilometres long without pavements. There are long stretches with no pedestrian crossings. Subways and stairs are far and few, poorly maintained not secure, prone to flooding in the monsoons. Zebra crossings are far and few, with hardly any markings that are visible. Traffic lights have signals that cater to two wheelers and above only.
Indicators for pedestrians to cross safely are almost always absent. Zebra crossings are not respected by motorists, who park their vehicles across the zebra crossings.
Old and the infirm are honked at and horned in to a state of abject terror by the unruly motorists. Pedestrians set foot outside their homes every day in fear and trepidation. There is no surety that they will reach back home safely. Pavements where present are either dug up, occupied by parked vehicles, rubbish heaps or vendors.
There is hardly any space for the pedestrian to walk beside the road. Under these conditions, the present drive against ‘jaywalking’ pedestrians is adding insult to injury.
Let the government agencies first tidy up their act, ensure adequate space for the pedestrians, and arrange for crossing places at short intervals. Let the Traffic Police pay full atention to managing the unruly motorists.