#SpeedBreakers- When Civic Apathy Turns Lethal

Pune roads - SpeedBumps
Image for representation only

 

Inspite of it being intended to make the roads safer, the speed breakers can be quite detrimental for the drivers on the road. It is a murderous weapon of its own,” quotes Adil Jal Darukhanawala, Editor in Chief – Fast Bikes, Consulting Editor-Times Auto

Darukhanawala lost a friend, 76-year-old businessman, Naozer Jamshed Aga who died on the old Pune-Mumbai highway due to an unmarked speed breaker. The speed- breakers were being painted soon after the incident.

Adil further opines that the authorities are not being held accountable for the lack of efficiency in working according to the framed guidelines.

You will have a truly jolting experience if at all, you overlook a speed breaker while driving.

The design is very flawed and is not mandated as per the road guidelines. Moreover, why was it not painted when it was made? Is it that they need someone to die before they take such a step?” he adds.

Speed Bumps
Image for representation only

Not only just faulty speed breakers, uncovered area of the roads after digging and several non-functional traffic signals also account for the increasing traffic snarls in the city.

“It’s appalling and really sad that in spite of obvious faults that we see on a daily basis, which I am sure authorities observe too, no one seems to care.

It’s only after a mishap that some action and corrective measures are taken. This is nothing but apathy on part of the Municipal Authorities, and when you ask them, you get ridiculous responses,” quotes Jaya Banerjee, Social Activist.

“Speed breakers are often built erratically, without following guidelines. Often the interests of the builders, land owners and politicians are given priority. For instance, the road that connects the new airport road to the old one is a good example. The beginning of the road is huge, while gradually it leads to a bottleneck. PMC’s response to this was that the road has not been sanctioned.

Another example is the recent underpass connecting Vimannnagar and Kalyani Nagar; it was inaugurated and opened by politicians for their benefit, says Jaya. This was done despite the Traffic Department informing them that it wasn’t safe to allow traffic.

“But that’s our authorities. They want to please people in power, or builders, at the cost of putting the lives of common citizens in high danger. If you’ve noticed, large and high-end societies have speed breakers at either end, what’s the logic?

“Isn’t it alarming? The PMC should seriously address these complaints of common citizens, and follow due process according to guidelines that are provided by engineers of road safety and traffic departments.

And we as citizens should come forward and raise these issues, instead of just observing them and making it just another topic of conversation. Raise the issue, you could save a life, Banerjee adds.

“Over the years, the conditions of the roads in Pune have seen a major downfall and the goof ups in speed breakers make it worse. Just today, I was riding pillion with my friend when she missed a huge unmarked speed breaker. Luckily, she was able to handle the vehicle well, else we would have been thrown off 500 meters away, or would have been hit by a vehicle.

It is scary to even think that a driver despite driving at slow speed, can easily be a victim of such apathy of the authorities,” says Meeta, a primary school teacher.

“These traffic management initiatives have to be made in such a way that it control the speed of the vehicles near populated areas only.”

As per the guidelines of the Indian Road Congress (IRC) guidelines, a speed breaker should be built as a rounded hump of 0.10 metre height and 3.7 metre width, with a 1.5 metre ramp on both the sides.

Daud Khan, a resident of Aundh says, “Not once, but twice have I survived bike accidents due to unmarked speed breakers in Pune. First was on the Bavdhan-Pashan Road near DRDO and another at Aundh-Pimple Nilakh road and both due to these speed breakers. I appreciate that a lot of our roads in Pune are good. Since they are wide, and with very fewer potholes, motorists do not hesitate to ride or drive at a speed of 60km/h which is normal and actually quite a controllable speed.

The problem occurs with these unpainted speed breakers, when we have to apply sudden breaks when we see it. Vehicles may skid, or even if it’s controlled runs a risk of collision from behind vehicles, especially at night.

“In both these accidents I was fortunate that there was no traffic behind me, or else after the fall I could have been run over by a vehicle from behind,” he adds.

Sharing his opinion, a city based biker says, “We riders adhere to all the safety norms and wear all the protective gear while riding. Naozer’s death was an unfortunate incident caused just due to the negligence of the safety norms by the authorities.

“We often are driving on highways at an appropriate speed and even a skid can take life. Authorities should complete the entire work on a speed breaker (painting included) all at once, rather than keeping them for later,” he adds.

Loveleen Kaur

Loveleen Kaur

She loves travelling, dogs, sarcasm, humour and anything that spells F O O D, in that order. A writer on a journey to make positive stories a morning ritual and give society what it needs the most - optimism !!

Reach her at loveleen@pune365.com or tweet @KaurKaur18
Loveleen Kaur

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