Fifty kilometers per hour… This is the maximum speed limit fixed for motorcyclists on the Western Express Highway, between Bandra to Andheri, from Monday midnight. "The violators would be penalised heavily," warned Additional Commissioner of Police (West region) Bipin Bihari.
In fact, what prompted Bihari to introduce the harsh rule, essentially in consultation with the traffic police, was the spate of fatal accidents reported in the western suburbs during the past one week, with speed (rash) and drunken driving emerging as the primary reason behind the mishaps. "I know such moves (of enforcing speed limits) is basically the traffic police's job. But we have already consulted with them before enforcing such a move," he added. A similar speed limit already exists on the Eastern Express Highway.
The move comes as an addition to another initiative taken by the west region police from Monday midnight--closing down the completed stretch on the Worli-Bandra sea link for good. This was hastened by the terrible motorcycle accident in Bandra on Saturday night in which one person was killed while the man on the pillion was seriously injured.
"We have decided to shut entry into that road completely so that those speeding motorcyclists don't use it again in future. In fact, they are using it as a racetrack. Closure is the only way to stop their nuisance in the area and inconvenience to others," Bihari added.
For the closure of the Worli-Bandra sea link, the police have blocked it by putting up barricades. However, the police can ill afford to put up barricades on the busy Western Express highway, the arterial trade route connecting Mumbai and Ahmadabad. "Rather we have decided to deploy speed radars, and a patrol vehicle accompanying it, in the 12-13 kilometre stretch," Bihari said adding that the radars would be deployed at least six places. However, instead of fixed points, they would be fixed on mobile units.
The decision to put up radars in the Bandra-Andheri stretch was taken in keeping in mind the fact that the bikers and speeding motorists may turn to the high way following the strict vigil maintained on their traditional race tracks in Bandra. Bihari warned that repeated offenders' licenses would be impounded on the spot.