On a crooked route

On a crooked route

Anyone who suggests that motorists in Bangalore need to wear blinkers can’t be blamed.

Criss-crossing across roads and driving in a zig-zag fashion have become the norm in the City. Motorists seem to believe that they are not responsible for the consequences of their irresponsibilities.

People who follow traffic rules, including sticking to lane discipline, usually end up becoming victims to such criss-cross driving. Metrolife interacts with the traffic police, psychiatrists and people in general to understand why this sort of driving continues despite campaigns and awareness drives.

Additional commissioner of police (traffic), M A Saleem, points out that the lane discipline campaign has been quite effective in the City. “Our campaign for lane discipline has been very effective. We haven’t started booking cases for criss-cross driving because we are giving people enough time to follow lane rules. Criss-cross driving can lead to grievous accidents,” he observes.

Statistics available with the Bangalore Traffic Police on accidents caused because of lane indiscipline and criss-crossing in the last four years are proof that people don’t care about the rules. Lane indiscipline led to 1,18,526 accident cases in the last six months; the year 2011 saw 2,19,139 cases, 2010 recorded 2,28,147 and 2009 had 1,15, 551 cases. “The cones, placed at major junctions in the City, have forced people to stick to their lanes. They will be removed once people begin to follow the rules and get used to driving within lanes,” Saleem adds. 
   
Chittaranjan Andrade, a psychiatrist with NIMHANS, observes that people are indisciplined on the roads because they are often in a hurry. “Vehicles cutting across lanes have now become so common that most motorists have grown used to it and take appropriate precautions when they drive,” reasons Andrade. He feels that the solution lies not in tackling the motorists themselves, but in tackling the reasons why they adopt such behaviour. “The most obvious reason is poor traffic management during rush hour. Stagger work schedules, provide special school, college, and office buses, improve signal management, improve roads, and so on, and suddenly a lot of traffic-related problems could disappear,” he notes.

The ordinary people think the traffic police isn’t doing enough to contain the chaos in the City. They also feel many motorists are “insensitive” and have “no regard for their fellow travellers”.

Prasanna Kumar M, a professional, thinks criss-cross driving continues because people are in such a tearing hurry to get to their destination. “They don’t have respect for others. Lane discipline is followed only in some places and I think it is individual responsibility to follow traffic rules,” reasons Prasanna.

Gitanjali R, an MSc psychology student at CMR College, feels the cops do nothing to clamp down on the offenders. “For those of us who follow the rules, it’s scary when someone suddenly crosses your path. This can lead to grave injuries and people overtake from the left just to cross over. It is exasperating,” says Gitanjali.
Sudha Raghunath, a homemaker says, “It is upsetting to travel on Bangalore roads. People drive recklessly and you don’t know when you will land in an accident.”

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