Crossing the line at signals

Major Inconvenience
Last Updated 21 February 2013, 13:49 IST

It’s quite common to see pedestrians in the City having trouble crossing the road. Even in areas where there are zebra crossings, motorists make this difficult by stopping their vehicles over the crossing.

The truth is that Bangalore is not a pedestrian-friendly city so much so that many pedestrians feel the zebra crossings serve no purpose.

Smitha Rao, a homemaker, has faced this problem often. “This is especially the case at the Ganga Darshan signal in Jayanagar. The City doesn’t value pedestrians at all. Vehicle owners should know the rules inside out. Motorists who don’t take the crossings seriously should have their licences revoked. The motorists are so insensitive to the pedestrians on the road,” she says.

Vinod Poddar, a businessman, feels that fines should be imposed on people who feel that they can get away with their own rules. “Penalties should be implemented so that incidents like these can be prevented. Awareness campaigns at main parks and other public spaces should also be held,” says Vinod. He adds, “There should be some space between the crossing line and the zebra crossing. That way, even if the vehicle moves ahead of the line, it doesn’t obstruct the pedestrians’ path.”

Vrinda Mehta, a homemaker, agrees with this view. “This issue affects senior citizens much more than the younger lot. It’s important to penalise errant motorists — but implementing this isn’t easy. Appointing policemen at each traffic signal is next to impossible, and thus practical solutions need to be looked into,” feels Vrinda.

She adds, “Many zebra crossings have faded and need to be repainted, which makes it difficult for motorists to see them. The crossings should be marked with some fluorescent or other brightly-coloured paint. This way, the excuse of not seeing the crossing will not arise.”

Sreeja S, a manager at a telecom firm, has a different opinion. “When a driver is in a hurry to get past a signal but the light turns red, they get stuck on the crossing. This also happens when there’s a free turn and we have to give way to vehicles behind us,” says Sreeja. She adds, “A massive change can only be brought in if something is legally done about it.”   
So what do the authorities have to say about this situation? M A Saleem, the additional commissioner of police (traffic), says, “When a motorist crosses the zebra crossing, it is considered to be jumping a signal and the camera at the signal captures it. Accordingly, a case is booked. One will be surprised to hear that there were 5,36,940 cases registered last year against signal jumping — and they have all been dealt with.” Saleem adds, “A fine of Rs 100 might not be able to help the issue, since most consider it a meagre amount. But in 2013, we aim for pedestrian safety and intend to create more awareness and hold campaigns that will help in this regard.”

(Published 21 February 2013, 13:49 IST)

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