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Pedestrian deaths in Bengaluru jumped by 77% in last 3 years

According to the data from the Bangalore Traffic Police (BTP), 161 pedestrian deaths were reported in 2021, which climbed to 286 by 2023. In a telling statistic, pedestrian deaths accounted for nearly 40% of all fatalities from accidents in the city in 2023.
Last Updated : 06 April 2024, 20:29 IST

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Bengaluru: Pedestrian deaths in Bengaluru increased by a whopping 77% between 2021 and 2023, according to data from the traffic department, highlighting the growing perils for people in the city that lacks proper civic infrastructure even as it adds hundreds of new vehicles every day to its congested roads.

According to the data from the Bangalore Traffic Police (BTP), 161 pedestrian deaths were reported in 2021, which climbed to 286 by 2023. In a telling statistic, pedestrian deaths accounted for nearly 40% of all fatalities from accidents in the city in 2023. 

Incidentally, data from the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) for 2022 also shows that Bengaluru has the highest number of deaths due to negligence of the civic body.

As a majority of pedestrian deaths occurred while crossing the road, the traffic police cited people crossing busy roads in a careless manner as the reason for this. A lack of public infrastructure such as skywalks and pedestrian subways also force many pedestrians to venture onto the roads. 

“People trying to cross busy roads haphazardly without using the pedestrian crossing is a major problem," M N Anucheth, Joint Commissioner of Police (Traffic), told DH. "Over the last six months, we have worked closely with the traffic engineering cell of the BBMP to install high-rise medians on busy roads to force pedestrians to cross the roads only at the pedestrian crossing. Such interventions have yielded positive results.”  

However, citizens pointed out that many junctions in the city also lack pedestrian crossings. For instance, a survey across 185 junctions by Sensing Local, an urban living lab, revealed 488 instances of missing pedestrian crossings.

However, BBMP officials said they are putting in place measures to make the city roads pedestrian-friendly. 

"We are working closely with the traffic police to understand requirements and projects are taken up accordingly. Also, we have earmarked funds close to Rs 25 lakh at the ward level to take up footpath repairs," a senior BBMP official said.

He, however, acknowledged that removing encroachments from the footpaths was difficult since many vendors tend to come back in a few days. 

Lack of walkable footpaths a bigger concern 

Data from the BTP also revealed that 66 of the 286 pedestrian deaths in 2023 occurred while the victim was walking on the side of the road.

Multiple surveys by citizen groups have shown that the majority of footpaths in the city are not walkable, with most of them being encroached upon.

“Most of the footpaths are either broken or encroached upon. Now, many of them even park vehicles on the footpaths. When such is the situation, citizens have no choice but to take to the roads, putting their lives at risk” said Christopher Cruz, executive member of the North East Resident Welfare Association (NERWA).

Srinivas Alavilli, Fellow, World Resources Institute (WRI), pointed out that the bigger problem is the street design.

“With minimal interventions such as pedestrian refuge islands and high-rise pedestrian crossings, we can save lives. Now, the BBMP is slowly adopting such techniques,” Alavilli said. 

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Published 06 April 2024, 20:29 IST

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