Gone are the days when you could step on to a pavement and be rest assured that the ongoing traffic wouldn’t bother your stroll.
There is an increasing number of motorists who don’t think twice before riding on pavements. Concerned Bangaloreans and the authorities share their views on this menace on the streets.
Many citizens, like Abhijit Kulkarni, a software developer, agree that this is a common sight. Abhijit says that it is the fast pace of life in the City which makes one so careless. “Everyone is just bothered about themselves. The worst part of this issue is when some of the drivers don’t realise their mistake and instead yell at pedestrians for coming in their way,” he says.
He adds that shopkeepers sometimes break the pavements by putting their stuff or kiosk on the pavements and this simply encourages motorists to ride on them. “It’s disturbing to see this behaviour from the motorists; they even shout at elderly people who cannot move fast,” voices Abhijit.
Like most citizens, Abhijit states that just implementing fines is not going to work and pavements should be separated from the road with fencing. Another problem is that most pavements aren’t well-maintained and tend to break because they can’t support the weight of the vehicles.
“One can rarely see footpaths that aren’t broken or in a dilapidated condition in the City. When people drive or ride on these paths, they don’t realise the long-term inconvenience they cause to the pedestrians. And this is seen throughout the City,” shares Sandeep Nayak, a professional. He adds, “I’ve seen this happen a lot on stretches near Jayadeva Flyover and from Adugodi to Brigade Road. Proper traffic maintenance and vigilance is required to curb this.”
Deepthi Sharma, a homemaker, says that these motorists aren’t just putting others at risk — they’re harming themselves too. “I travel frequently from BEL Road to Sadashivnagar and I’ve often seen this happen on this route. Once I was in Malleswaram when I saw a motorist fall off his bike while trying to get on to a pavement as it was broken,” she says. Stricter fines and an intensive awareness drive by the authorities is the need of the day, feels Deepthi.
The authorities are aware of this scenario and say that they are taking the required measures to keep a watch on the same.
The numbers cited by the additional commissioner of police (traffic), B Dayananda, clearly state that this problem is on the rise.
“In 2012, 12,538 cases were registered against motorists for riding and driving on pavements. This year, the number is 14,066 (till July),” states Dayananda adding, “under Section 279 (IPC), our department has written to the transport authorities for suspension of driving licences in this regard, apart from the Rs 300 fine.”
S Somashekhar, chief engineer (road infrastructure) of the BBMP, shares, “An amount of Rs 22 to 30 lakh is spent per kilometre of a three-metre wide footpath. This kind of unauthorised movement on the pavements causes the slabs of the pavements to break. It is particularly common in areas like the Central Business District, 100 Feet Road, Hosur Road and Mysore Road. The traffic police needs to take stricter action against this problem.”