Road Safety.

The pronunciation of Bengaluru by Rajdeep Sardesai on “State” of Bangalore almost made me not want the change of. Bangaluru?! My dear fellow, it is Bengaluru with the first part going as you pronounce Bengal. Not Bangaluru.

Anyhow, there were however some other Issues that went unheralded, and werent discussed – Road safety for one. Prof. U R Ananthamurthy for one repeatedly stressed that an old man or a child wasnt as safe as before on the roads – and that is indeed true. In fact, most people are unsafe on the roads.

The changes from even 10 years back have been dramatic. And if you have lived here further back, the road safety has diminished exponentially. The causes are as much the growth of this city as the lack of awareness among contractors, public, and especially the government.

So we see ring roads coming up – decently paved roads that allow one to progress at a decent rate of speed – and bang there’s a sharp curve that doesn’t have enough space to be negotiated at that speed. Whats worse, its not banked right.

Or you see cops stopping trucks bang in the middle of the ORR – with a wave of the hand and putting themselves right in the line of the truck – never mind if they give them, or those following, enough braking distance. The less said about barriers that are carelessly strewn around, the better.

Then the inner city roads – they stay paved for a month in Koramangala before someone decides that enough is enough and that they need to be dug-up. Overnight, you see huge ditches dug up on roads that were already unmotorable. Sure there are signs put up. “Sorry for the disturbance/inconvenience – Karnataka Land Army/BESCOM” some nameless ones even – with just “Office : 2xxx xxxx(number)” written there! And these are visible during the daylight at about 10 feet distance. At night, they’re not even reflective!

Some suggestions that, hopefully, will be considered worthwhile by the authorities, next time they conduct a “Road Safety Week” –

1. Please have the cops attention to the details – Rear/Stop lights contribute a lot in warning drivers about braking distances(and are missing on most vehicles) – checking them on vehicles is more an exercise in road safety that putting up invisible hard barriers – or even more cops on the streets.
2. Please provide training on traffic rules and safety to the traffic police – most of them don’t even bother to use the turn signals(on their bikes/jeeps).
3. Road users are people too. So hard barriers inevitably are going to hurt them, whether they’re on foot, or vehicle. Please use deforming ones! Advance warning on civic works affecting the road-users, please!
4. Please clamp down on jaywalking, severely. It contributes hugely to road-rage(and inevitably to accidents), and whats more – is a crime.
5. Traffic cops are less efficient than traffic signals. Every signal replaced by a cop manning it induces traffic jams and waiting time from 5 minutes to anywhere between 10 to 30 minutes, on an average! That doesnt make sense, more so for a force complaining of shortage of manpower.
6. The force’s information gathering capability needs to be augmented – One hour into a severe traffic jam(on Hosur Road) 2 Fridays back and the control room wasnt even aware of the jam – which eventually was cleared nearly 4 hours later.

1 Comment so far

  1. Ravi (unregistered) on April 6th, 2006 @ 3:10 am

    And just how do you write “Bengal-uru” in kannada? Or “Bengal” in Bengali for that matter? When you get back to your roots, go all the way, not with a still anglicized (YUKK) pronounciation! Two thumbs up for Bangaluru!

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