If rules are meant to be broken, then this is one rule that’s violated almost every second. And one may have to pay a heavy price for it. Jaywalking is not just an offence but a dangerous act that continues to prevail despite the risks associated with it.
It is a practice rampant all over the city, mainly on MG Road, Brigade Road, Madiwala, Silk Board, Ejipura, Mysore Road and Hebbal Flyover.
The traffic police feel that their efforts to prevent people from jaywalking have not yielded much result. R Renukaiah, traffic police constable at Anil Kumble Circle, says, “Anil Kumble Circle is a heavy traffic area and there are four pedestrian crossings here — MG Road, St Mark’s Road, Queen’s Road and BRV Road crossing. However, while some people use them, many don’t. This causes traffic jams. Citizens’ safety is also threatened as there is a high probability of accidents with vehicles coming at a high speed.”
Agrees Muttanna, another constable, saying, “Traffic jams are not such a big issue; they can be cleared within a short duration but lives are precious and we can’t save that. Also, when speeding vehicles stop, they can get hit by the one behind. Jaywalkers pose harm to themselves and other drivers.”
The fines don’t seem to have helped and the police feels that it is the callous attitude of the citizens that is mainly to blame. “People are aware of the harmful consequences of jaywalking but they still do it. This shows a lack of discipline and negligence. It’s even more dangerous when the green signal is on. There have been many accidents but no one seems to understand the gravity of the situation till it happens to them,” says Nagaraja, constable at Ashok Nagar.
According to him, there should be more awareness campaigns, short films and videos made on the issue, that not only highlight jaywalking as a punishable offence but also draw attention to the grave fatalities associated with it.
Citizens point out that many a time, jaywalking occurs to avoid the inconvenience of spotting the zebra crossing that is not properly marked or painted at many points across the city. Lack of appropriate town planning and infrastructure also make it to the list.
Veena, a resident of Hesaraghatta Road, works on Church Street and gets down from the bus at the MG Road Metro Station. “I cross over to the other side of MG Road from the Metro Station in order to save time. Who will actually walk up to the Brigade Road signal and then take the U-turn to walk another lengthy stretch? I agree that it’s perilous but they should either introduce another signal or have a homeguard who controls traffic and lets people cross,” she says.
Raghunath also points out that jaywalking has indeed become a menace today and it is motorists like him who face the nuisance. “People crisscross the road wherever they feel like, as if it’s their right. However, we cannot completely blame the jaywalker because the town planners have not provided clear walking and crossing paths. The poor and unscientific design has indeed contributed to the chaos on roads.”
Although infrastructure and other facilities need to be improved, citizens need to understand the big risk they take while jaywalking.