Monday, October 25, 2010

My pet topic: Traffic and the pedestrian - A glimmer of hope.

While looking for more good news I was impressed by this story in BangaloreMirror.

'34 year old software engineer was so appalled by people's cavalier attitude that he shelled out 2.5 lakh from his own pocket and spent a year in making a documentary to educate the youth'.

Amit Mitra says, 'Every day, I would read about people getting hurt or losing their lives in road accidents. But what was worse was people brushing them aside as routine happenings. Loosing lives can never be a routine thing'.
....'I decided to focus on the incident itself and what goes into saving a life, on the people, besides doctors, who work behind the scenes. These include paramedics, traffic cops and even by-standers' he says.
The result is a 22 minute documentary film named 'Lives- Lost and Saved'. Amit wants to show this film in schools and colleges to make youngsters understand of the importance of road safety.

I hope someone in authority will coax the TV channels and the movie houses to show this documentary! It can be done! I saw some short clips during the CWG coverage to educate people on many issues! If required Amit could make a shorter version for them.

Influential people like Sri Sri Ravishanker, Sri Baba Ramadev and others could dwell on this wake up message. All large and small places of worship could take up the issue. Most people seem to visit religious places and there are plenty. I have seen bad driving by devotees as they swing in to park near a temple and rush to offer their prayers.

More importantly the police could influence, especially bars and pubs, to include this documentary and many such while they cover cricket and soccer games! In fact, additional commissioner of police (traffic) is reported to have encouraged the making of this documentary.

In fact, residents can shoot short clips about bad driving from their respective areas and the TV channels could show them. TV channels can smudge the faces of the drivers to avoid controversies. We don't want them to tangle with netas and their kin. Obviously makers of these clips should be discreet!

Surely there are numerous ways to educate our people to try and correct this 'Genetic flaw' as some have named it! When I ask people: 'Is there any hope that our people will drive better?'. The reply sounds either despondent or sarcastic. They say "The day this happens will be the day of 'Pralaya' (Apocalypse!)".

But let us give ourselves a chance. Please send your Suggestions and Ideas to the author Manasi Paresh Kumar at . Hopefully she will do a follow-up article.

This news should gladden the hearts of those who have seen pedestrian operated traffic lights work in the west. The down side seems to be: 'Such light has been in place at the Cantonment railway station for about five years but it is a flop because vehicles don't bother to stop when pedestrians hit the switch'.

"While there is a demand for signal-free corridors, we need signals too. We have to balance the interests of motorists and pedestrians. Pelican lights are one way out", Sood, Additional commissioner of police, pointed out.

Let us hope people will cooperate and the commissioner can enforce!

Prashanth G N. in TOI of oct 26, 2010.
This report shows the seriousness of the problem. It speaks of the many injured and the dead. I shudder to think of the day I had a narrow escape. The auto sped just inches away from me, trying to beat the light. I had done everything right, I had stepped on the zebra crossing after it had turned green and even the police constable was there. Either the driver did not see or did not care. I could see the constable was helpless. I tried to remonstrate with him, but he gave me a blank stare. His way of telling me thank your stars that you were not hit. I am sure most of us who walk will have a similar stories to tell. Obviously the cameras have not thwarted the impatient drivers.

Once I asked my friend Raghu in despair: 'Will our bad driving habits ever change?' He said: 'Yes eventually when people learn that being safe and considerate drivers will work for them. But in the meanwhile there will be many who will be maimed or dead'. Sad but true!


Kesari said...

Like blood corpuscles flowing through the arteries, veins and capillaries in our body, traffic too flows unhindered smoothly. Occassionally there may be a clot but it dissolves by itself and ............... life goes on as usual.

Have a look at the YouTube video to appreciate the Indian system.

srinidhi said...

A good analogy. I used to think that the Bangalore traffic flowed like a river.
Just came back from the Malleswaram Mantri Mall. The traffic light did not change as the constable went out on a personal errand. In any case there are no pedestrian traffic lights there. Hopefully they will install a pedestrian operated switch and it does not flop like the one near cantt rail station.
We managed as a cluster of us, mostly women just waded thru'. A bus driver did scare me as he just went past us without slowing down !

VATSALA said...

Yes we can if we have the authorities cooperating!