No space for pedestrians

Footpath Riders

No space for pedestrians

Many Bangaloreans are of the opinion that the City is an unfriendly place for pedestrians. Incidences like motorists honking at pedestrians even when they are on the footpath, motorists trying to swerve on to the footpath to avoid the traffic rush, especially at signals, are very common.

Pedestrians say that lack of proper sidewalks or footpaths and the impatient attitude of the motorists are aggravating the problem.

Though the BBMP is repairing broken pavements and trying to make concrete footpaths, instead of laying stone slabs, people feel that these may need to be repaired again soon as the footpaths are being used more by motorists than pedestrians. Sumeet, a commuter, says that motorists are often seen taking the easy way out by riding on the footpath to avoid rush.

The pedestrians are compelled to make way for them.

“What is the point of mending footpaths if they are not used by us? There have been occasions when I have been almost run over by BMTC buses and two-wheelers even when I was walking on a corner of the road and sometimes, on the footpath.

Once when a bus almost mowed me down, the only thing I could do was yell at
the driver. Motorists in general need to be cautious about pedestrians and follow rules. They should not take up the pedestrian space,” he notes. Somashekhar, the chief engineer of roads infrastructure, BBMP, says, “We are repairing the footpaths, along with the roads, in many stretches across the City. Levelling the footpath, repair work and painting are also being undertaken at the same time,” Many others suggest that lane driving can be a solution to the problem, if motorists stick to their lanes, the jams will reduce and that might ease the flow of traffic.

“The lane-driving campaign, which was started almost a year ago, seems to have disappeared. If lane driving is imposed in the City, things may improve for pedestrians as the traffic will be organised. I feel Bangalore is not safe for pedestrians as the streets are not very broad. Pedestrians have a tough time when it comes to narrow roads. Also, not all areas have sidewalks or
footpaths and the motorists don’t want to give any space to the pedestrians,” says Srikant, a commuter.

There are also those who point out that active policing and imposing fines can help the cause of pedestrians. Arpit, a student, says that it almost seems like the pedestrians are getting bullied by the motorists on the streets of the City.

“If they honk, we have to move or else they might run over us. If the police starts fining motorists when they go on the footpath, it might stop this bad habit. Motorists have to realise that pedestrians need space to walk and bullying them to give up their space will not help,” he
sums up.

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