In a hurry to grow up

Unchecked Problem

In a hurry to grow up

Hang around any school in the Central Business District or areas like Cox Town, Fraser Town and a few places near Jayanagar between 3 pm and 4 pm, and it’s impossible to miss the sight of the older boys whizzing past on their bikes — in their uniforms. Underage driving is prominent around schools and the traffic police always turn a blind eye to the problem because most of these kids are from influential institutions and well-connected families. Most of these children claim that they live in the vicinity and use the bikes only to travel short distances. They seem oblivious to the illegality of their act and unmindful of the consequences. Metrolife interacted with the trafficpolice, the management of a few schools and motorists to understand the dangers of underage driving, especially around schools.

There are not less than two policemen at every school junction between 3 pm and 4 pm to ensure a smooth flow of traffic around the premises. But the traffic police simply refuse to book high school children, who are caught riding two-wheelers. However, additional commissioner of police (traffic) B Dayananda says, “Those who are caught for underage driving have to pay a spot fine of Rs 300. We are keeping a strict tab on this trend and will make sure that nobody is spared. Dayananda adds that the owner of the vehicle will be prosecuted, “The owner will be fined Rs 1000 for allowing an underage person to use the vehicle,” he notes.

The management of the schools concede that they are aware of high school students parking their bikes near the institutions. But they say that they don’t allow students to park their bikes inside the school premises. They blame parents for allowing their children to use bikes at such a young age. Sabitha Ramamurthy, principal  of CMR National Public School, says that she is aware of students — especially those in their plus two — riding two-wheelers. She says, “I know of children who bring their bikes, park it somewhere near the school and ride back after school hours. I can regulate anything that happens on campus but what happens outside school hours is not in my control. I think parents must be careful when allowing underage children to use bikes.”

Aron Triyakumar, manager (transport) of Bishop Cotton Girls’ School, points out that students are not allowed to bring their two-wheelers on campus at any time. “We keep a close watch on students. They are not allowed to bring their vehicles on campus,” he says. 

Motorists, who are witness to underage driving, think it’s high time parents instilled a sense of road discipline in their wards. Vineeth K, a software engineer, who works around Jayanagar, says that he always sees young boys wheeling on their bikes. “I don’t think parents bother about the consequences of giving the bikes to young children. Children grow up thinking that it is their right to behave the way they do on the roads. It’s the attitude that matters,” explains Vineeth. 

Hita Hejmadi, a professional, feels that among the various perils of driving on Bangalore roads, underage kids riding two-wheelers stands out as a prominent one.  “In their quest for freedom and in an eagerness to grow up fast, kids ride untutored and unsupervised. It is dangerous, not just for them but for the co-commuters and pedestrians too,” observes Hita. She strongly thinks the law must be respected by all. “Children should be educated not only at schools but also at home. Sense must prevail in the society for safe travelling on the roads,” she sums up.

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