Pune’s vehicular population exceeds the number of humans and this is reason enough for the city to take road safety far more seriously. Unfortunately, Pune citizens seem to have an aversion to following traffic rules and this is now a significant cause of concern.
The rampant construction activity in the city has further added to the pressure on the roads and traffic management. While several rules are implemented by the traffic department, citizens often turn a bling eye and play truant and risking lives
Pune365 spoke to city activists and informed citizens to get their views on the need for increased road safety measures.
Self-discipline is imperative to get the city disciplined, says Meghna Pendse, social activist and volunteer with the Pune Traffic Police.
From what I have observed we are unable to strictly enforce any traffic rules in the city, and that is thanks to the citizens who don’t take the rules or the traffic police seriously. It is high time we start doing something for road safety.
Pune is a city that has a large student and IT professional population and it is important to spread awareness among this majority. From what I have seen only 30% of people follow the traffic rules, and practically no action is taken on the balance 70% who break the rules constantly!
Imposing fines is obviously not effective enough for Puneites. We need to work on a long term solution to this indiscipline.
A few years back, the use of helmets was supposed to have been made compulsory in the city, yet that is far from the reality. We have also seen a fall in people applying for learners licenses, yet no serious action is taken against the ones who do not drive with one.
I have seen traffic policemen spreading awareness about traffic rules during road safety week but that is not enough. In fact, if you find a regular offender violating traffic rules, his license should be suspended on an immediate basis.
To add to this, the condition of the roads are pathetic in various parts of the city and proves to be dangerous for commuters. Along with effective policing and good traffic management, the government has to be made responsible for the quality of roads, in order to ensure a smooth and safe flow of traffic.
“There should be zero tolerance for anyone seen violating traffic rules. Strict implementation of the law is the only way to get this city disciplined,” says Rajiv Shinde, Social Worker.
The implementation has to focussed to see any positive impact in the city. The Pune Traffic Police have introduced several rules, yet, not even one of them is complied with entirely in Pune. The Use of helmets was made compulsory years back, yet, we see close to 80 % of riders sans helmets and no strict action is taken against them either.
If the police itself show their indifference to these regulations, then how can you expect citizens to follow them. The Pune Police must crack down on riders without helmets and also take steps to curb underage driving by punishing the parents of such drivers with large fines, Shinde adds.
Rahul Walunj, another social worker quips, “India has one of the highest rates of road accidents and Pune the Smart City would be among the top cities, to ignore and disobey traffic rules!
Before issuing a license, compulsory training ought to be given on following traffic rules.
The traffic police ought to be more vigilant and strict while enforcing traffic rules. The citizens should learn to respect and adhere the basic rule of pedestrian crossings. In fact, road safety measures need a revamp and strict rules along with basic adherence to following rules like following the proper signals, zebra crossing, wrong way driving, using helmets must be enforced.
We should start educating school children and college students and road safety should be part of their curriculum, Walunj adds.
“Road commute is an integral part of the city and unavoidable in daily life,” quips Sushant Surve, Journalist.
Underage driving, ignoring helmets, over speeding and not following lane discipline, are some of the major traffic violations in the city. Stricter laws should be enforced on people found guilty of these violations.
Sushant further adds that “Road infrastructure is another segment which is an important aspect of road safety. As the city has such a high vehicular population, flyovers, speed breakers, grade separators, signboards, pavements and zebra crossings near the schools are some safety measures which needs to be considered before designing new roads.”
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