'Punishment must be made harsher'

Lacking sense

'Punishment must be made harsher'

Common: Two-wheelers parked on a footpath in Sheshadripuram dh photos by Manjunath M S

It’s bad enough that the roads are clogged. Now, even footpaths are in a logjam, thanks to reckless two-wheeler riders who are out to cut corners to circumvent traffic snarls.

It’s almost a fad for the young to ride on pavements. In fact, it is at its worst in areas where IT companies are concentrated.

Parking and riding on the pavement is a common sight even where government offices are located. And worst, parking on the footpath right in front of the City Police Commissioner’s office is a regular feature. The cops don’t seem to mind the pavement getting narrow by the day. 

According to police records not less than 50,000 cases for dangerous driving are booked every year. Of this, more than 80 per cent are booked for driving on the footpath.

The police say that they have been contemplating stringent punishment, including increasing the fine amount from Rs 100 to Rs 500 and treat footpath offenders as criminals by filing cases against them under Section 279 of the Indian Penal Code for rash and negligent driving and brand them as criminals.

 The police believe only such a move will instill the fear of the law in the offenders. Footpath riding is a curse to traffic management in the City.

“Everybody wants to overtake the other and be ahead of the others. Riding on the footpath is a common sight half way through traffic junctions. This kind of overtaking doesn’t take place at traffic signals,” points out Additional Commissioner of Police Praveen Sood. He observes that the offence falls under the dangerous driving category.

The offenders are usually in their 20s and early 30s. The police believe that it is plain impatience to get ahead of others that is behind such behaviour. “This tendency of riders to give a short shrift to everything means pedestrians are at the receiving end. These riders damage the footpath and render them unfit for pedestrians, leaving them no choice but to walk on the streets. The present fines of Rs 100 to Rs 300 is nothing to the offenders. Punishments must be harsher," says Praveen Sood.

The saner road user thinks that such offenders must not be spared and must be dealt with in the most crude way. People say that lack of adequate parking space and endless traffic jams provoke people to ride and park on the footpath.

Nikhil M, an employee of HCL Technologies says, “It’s scary and you don’t know when someone will ride into you when you‘re walking on the pavement. The government must make some arrangement to provide parking space in the City.” Amruta, a medical practitioner observes that the long traffic jams in the City render people impatient and provoke them to overtake. “The two-wheeler riders tend to zip past on the footpath at traffic junctions. More parking space must be provided in the lanes where offices are located,” says Amruta.

Praveen Francis, a businessman points out that a fine amount of Rs 100 will not deter people from committing the offence again. “The police must clamp down on the offenders and instill a sense of fear in them. Lack of adequate parking facilities in the City is the main problem,” he sums up.

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