Pedes­tri­ans, Cross the Road at your own Risk

Hereʼs how.

Woman's Era - - Short Story - By Vivek Shukla

young Delhi-based jour­nal­ist was re­cently hit so hard by a speed­ing mo­tor cy­cle in Kalkaji area that he suc­cumbed to his in­juries there and then. Af­ter buy­ing some fish from the mar­ket, the poor chap was cross­ing the road. He did not know that he would die be­fore he could cross the road. And the cul­prit was a young boy who was driv­ing with­out any driv­ing li­cense. This is just one of those pedes­trian deaths that were re­ported by the me­dia.

Un­der­stand­ably, me­dia too can­not cover all such ac­ci­dents. In­deed, it is a scary time for pedes­tri­ans in In­dia. They are at the mercy of rash and ir­re­spon­si­ble driv­ers who have no re­spect for the rights and life of pedes­tri­ans. Pedes­trian fa­tal­i­ties are in­creas­ing thick and fast in In­dia as nei­ther traf­fic cops nor driv­ers en­sure the safety of pedes­tri­ans. More than 53 per cent of the vic­tims of the road ac­ci­dents are pedes­tri­ans. Ac­cord­ing to the sur­vey con­ducted by Cen­tral Road Re­search In­sti­tute (CRRI) more than 90 per cent of the pedes­tri­ans feel un­safe while cross­ing the roads. With the in­crease of ve­hic­u­lar pop­u­la­tion in geo­met­ric pro­por­tion and the in­ad­e­quate in­fra­struc­ture for pedes­tri­ans, it is a night­mare to cross the roads. It is tough be­ing a pedes­trian in In­dia.

For all pedes­tri­ans, they have to stay alert at all times about what he or she is step­ping onto — a per­son, a sleep­ing dog — and be aware of what is go­ing to hit him from be­hind. Some peo­ple ride their mo­tor­bikes on the side­walk. Or a rag­ing cow. If you want to see how peo­ple drive on side­walks, just see any ma­jor road in any metro of In­dia.if you are walk­ing on the road, then do so with great cau­tion. This Learn from Dubai and Sin­ga­pore

For­get about the US or Euro­pean coun­tries, pedes­tri­ans get tremen­dous amount of re­spect from driv­ers even in the gulf and South East Asian na­tions. Go to Dubai, Sin­ga­pore, Bangkok, Abu Dhabi, you would find a dif­fer­ent world for pedes­tri­ans. It is a safe world for them. If a pedes­trian is on ze­bra cross­ing be it on a ma­jor or small road, the en­tire traf­fic would come to a grind­ing halt. As long as pedes­tri­ans are on the road, no­body would dare drive their ve­hi­cles. Can you imag­ine such a sce­nario in In­dia?

Dy­ing un­no­ticed

What is all the more se­ri­ous is the fact that pedes­tri­ans are the worst suf­fer­ers in road ac­ci­dents in In­dia. And un­less the gov­ern­ment takes ma­jor steps to pro­tect its pedes­tri­ans, they would die un­no­ticed. How to make the lives of pedes­tri­ans safe ? It is high time that the con­cerned agen­cies spend more money on build­ing bet­ter in­fra­struc­ture such as side­walks, raised cross­walks and des­ig­nated lanes for dif­fer­ent kinds of traf­fic. Ar­guably, we have the least amount of pedes­trian in­fra­struc­ture like side­walks, proper ze­bra cross­ings, cross­ing the roads wher­ever con­ve­nient, putting them­selves and the mo­torists at risk.

While In­dian roads are a con­stant ca­coph­ony of horns, how many times have you been given ad­e­quate warn­ing by a mo­torist? The In­ter­na­tional Fed­er­a­tion of Pedes­tri­ans has been ex­plic­itly ad­vo­cat­ing the right to walk in pub­lic spa­ces as a ba­sic hu­man right.

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