Manju, footpath warrior

Manju, footpath warrior

Manju, footpath warrior

Manju Thomas, a young HR professional who lives in Koramangala, passes by Corporation Circle every evening to catch a bus home.

Like all pedestrians, she is upset with bikers riding on footpaths.

She has found a way to block them: place hurdles, and stand in their way.

"It's not too hard. You come across stones on our roads and footpaths and within minutes, you have a barricade ready," Manju told Metrolife.

On March 14, two bikers just wouldn't get off the footpath.

"It was 6.30 pm when I had finished creating the barricade. When these two men wanted to pass by, I politely told them they should use the road. But it turned into a heated argument and passers-by came to support me," she says.

The men were adamant, and with no defence, ended up asking her why she wasn't speaking Kannada. That was when others speaking Kannada spoke up for Manju. "It's sad to think that this is what they wanted to argue about. Following traffic rules and making everyone feel safe should be everybody's concern, no matter what language you speak," she says.

For four years, she has been doing her bit to make footpaths safe for pedestrians.

"I used to pass by St John's Road when I was studying in Christ College. A biker once made me lose balance and fall down," she says. It was then that she decided to take up the cause.

Riding on the footpath isn't a major offence, and that is part of the problem, she reckons.

"It just attracts a Rs 100 fine which many don't mind paying," she says. Manju endorses the heavy penalty and the revocation of licence for drunken driving and believes the stringent punishment has brought the problem under control.

Every evening, Manju plays footpath warrior.

"I have approached the traffic police but they just look at you as riding on the footpath it is normal. So I do my duty as a citizen and educate riders who don't know the difference between a footpath and a road," she says.


Manju suggests citizens use the hashtag #MyFoot and report footpath problems.
"Click a picture or shoot a video and post it with the hashtag on social media. Tag the city police and hope for a change," she says.

You can do it too
Manju has been receiving support on social media because of her video going viral.
Her response: "When people tell me there should be more people like me, I politely say, 'Just join me'."

'Mother India's road'
Riders sometimes ask her, 'Do you think this is your father's road?'
She replies, "It's my mother India's road."
"I guess my humour doesn't make too much sense to them," she says, laughing.

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