On their own trip

Breaking rules

On their own trip

While traffic snarls have become an unavoidable aspect of a Bengalurean’s life, improper lane driving has been contributing to it considerably. Motorists who lack civic sense are a common sight these days and jumping lanes are done without a second thought. Such behaviour poses danger not just to themselves but those around as well.   

For some of those who drive abiding by the rule, these violators have become a menace. Arpita Chakrvarthy, a young professional, says that people are breaking rules while driving in spite of knowing that they have to adhere to particular lanes. “One issue is the marking on the lanes are disappearing because of the rains and the other problem is that everyone is in a hurry to reach their destination, come what may. Safety takes a backseat then. Compared to other cities, people here are polite, yet they show their rage on the roads,” she says.

While most citizens lament about the absolute lack of lane discipline, the Bengaluru Traffic Police says that they are identifying junctions which are prone to haphazard driving. “There are two types of lane discipline which must be practised — direction-oriented lane discipline and speed-oriented lane discipline,” says MA Saleem, Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic). “Direction-oriented lane discipline is when vehicles, going to take a turn to the left or right, move to the specific lane accordingly. Speed-oriented lane discipline is when slow-moving vehicles move to the left side of the road, and faster vehicles are on the right side of the road,” explains Saleem.

He adds that vehicles violating this are booked. “In the last five months, we have booked 2,00,014 cases with a fine of Rs 100 each. This is in comparison to 2014’s figure of 4,90,523 cases. Most of these cases are direction-oriented cases. But, we have also started enforcing speed-oriented lane discipline on the KIAL Road (New Airport Road) so as to enforce smooth movement,” says Saleem.

Motorists, like Rahul Jain, co-founder of a restaurant in Gandhi Bazaar, says that as someone who travels from BTM Layout II Stage to Gandhi Bazaar daily, he has observed that people do not take safe turns.

“They drive between lanes and take sudden turns when they have to travel to a different part of the stretch, which is confusing and scary for fellow motorists. Two-wheelers and autorickshaw drivers are the biggest culprits of this violation,” says Rahul. He points out that the traffic is a “bit more organised” near auto-lanes, but strict measures need to be implemented across the City to enforce this concept. “Proper CCTV coverage and impartial fining will help a long way,” he says.

While many wonder why Bengalureans do not understand the concept of lane discipline, driving instructors like R Padmanaban, who works with Pratham Motors, Koramangala (a franchise of Maruti Driving School) says that “we teach adhering to lane discipline during the theory and practical classes”. “We tell them about how clear indicators should be shown, when one is changing lanes.” He says that “it is common to follow the pack” when on the road. “Once, a motorist took a wrong turn ahead of the vehicle I was in, and my student also took a wrong turn. Such behaviour leads to chaos on road,” he says. Of the many issues about this violation, Saleem points out that it is harder to enforce speed-oriented lane discipline as junctions are closeby in the City.

Other traffic experts like Winkle Mathias, a traffic warden at Jal Vayu Vihar, Kammanahalli points out that “serious penalties are a must to instill fear”.

“When traffic inspectors or wardens are present at a particular spot, there is a difference, but the moment there is no one to watch, traffic goes haywire,” he says. Winkle adds that if people are able to follow rules while in another country, it is the lack of fear that lets them take advantage of the system here. “Most people don’t care about paying Rs 100. A permanent solution would be increasing the fine amount or punishment,” he concludes.

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