In the first six months of this year, 264 people were killed and 1,729 were injured in accidents across the city. There have been 13,257 accidents in the city so far this year.
In a two-day series, HT visits the spots where these fatal accidents have occurred, finds out the problems causing accidents and addresses the solutions. In some cases, the roads have not been properly designed, while at other places, the signaling system has failed.
In 2015, the Mumbai traffic police identified 70 ‘black-spots’ across the city where most fatal accidents are reported.
A special analysis shows that the central-east zone (Matunga, Dadar, Mahim, Chembur, Trombay, Mankhurd) topped the chart with 136 fatal accidents. The north zone (Jogeshwari, Malad, Kandivli, Borivli, Dindoshi, Dahisar divisions) reported 130 accidents, ranking second. The city’s southern region has the lowest casualty rate, with only 35 fatal accidents in 2015.
A different crash-analysis by the Mumbai traffic police reveals 60 % fatalities involve pedestrians. Based on the black-spot analysis, the traffic police found, of the 123 people killed, 64 were pedestrians. Senior officers said while the death of pedestrians has to be assessed based on various factors, a majority of the deaths occur while the victims are crossing the road and are hit by a speeding vehicle. In other cases, they get hit by a car while walking near the pavement.
The analysis showed 54 victims were on two-wheelers. The police said the the bikers end up losing their lives mainly owing to head injuries caused be the absence of a helmet.
Problem: The roads have not been designed well
PUSHPA PARK BUS STOP, WESTERN EXPRESS HIGHWAY, MALAD (EAST)
In 2015, four accidents took place on this spot, killing five people. The Western Express Highway stretch in Malad (East), popularly known as Pushpa Park, has seen repeated accidents. The highway, when not congested during peak hours, is a smooth road to ride on for bikers and motorists, traffic policemen said.
However, speed is not the problem. It’s the way the road has been designed.
“There is a curve on the flyover that many motorists miss. The bikers are the most affected one at this spot because it is not properly illuminated. Also, there are no proper signages,” said a traffic police personnel.
A constable attached with the Dindoshi traffic division claimed to have witnessed more than 10 accidents at the spot in the past two years. “Most of the times, the victims are bikers,” he said.
Apart from the curve, there is a gap between the northbound and southbound lane. Traffic officials said if a biker crashes into the wall, it is likely he will fall into the gap and fall on the road below the flyover. “In any case, the biker’s death is imminent,” said the traffic police officer.
WESTERN EXPRESS HIGHWAY, GOREGAON (EAST)
On May 13 last year, 22-year-old Archana Pandya died after she was hit by a vehicle on the Western Express Highway in Goregaon (East) while crossing the road. The stretch between the NESCO exhibition centre and Hub Mall is a blackspot because of repeated accidents.
Officials at the Dindoshi traffic division said that even though there is an underpass near Hub Mall, pedestrians rarely use it. Even repeated warnings have failed, officials said.
“During the time of exhibitions, many a time those attending the centre cross the roads as there is no other way to cross. The underpass is a five-minute walk from the centre. But it is a long walk for pedestrians,” said a traffic constable, on condition of anonymity.
Accidents usually occur during the morning and evening peak hours. During the evening peak hour, the southbound stretch is clear, while the northbound stretch faces heavy traffic. After crossing slow-moving traffic on the north lane, pedestrians often try to quickly cross over. This often results in accidents as a speeding vehicle on the southbound lane ends up knocking the pedestrian down. Pandya was hit on the southbound stretch by an unknown vehicle.
BHOR JUNCTION, WESTERN EXPRESS HIGHWAY, KANDIVLI (EAST)
Bhor junction is faced with the same problem plaguing the stretch at Kandivli (East). The road, traffic officials say, could have been made properly.
An officer from the traffic division said there is a curve near the junction where most of the accidents occur. At the turning junction, the vehicles are always speeding and a lapse in judgment causes a crash, the police said.
The Dahisar division witnessed 10 fatal accidents between January and May this year. Last year, it was one of the most accident-prone spots, with 34 fatal accidents reported in the division alone, on a par with Chembur and Vikhroli divisions with 40 and 37 fatal accidents respectively.
The police said speeding coupled with poorly designed roads are causing the accidents. There was also a lack of signage on the stretch, the said.
100-metre stretch on the southbound lane of Prabhodhankar Thackeray Flyover, Western Express Highway
In 2015, 27 accidents took place in the Bandra-Kurla Complex traffic division. This year, in the first five months, 18 accidents were reported. This also made BKC the most accident-prone division in the western suburb this year.
SL Shinde, senior inspector at BKC division, said the most accident-prone spot is a 100 metre stretch before taking the Prabhodhankar Thackeray Bridge on the southbound stretch. It lies between two flyovers and cannot be barricaded. Hence, vehicles coming from the bridge and ones from below the bridge end up brushing each other.
Another reason is the volume of vehicles that BKC sees on a daily basis. This is because apart from the vehicles converge from the north, south and the sea link too.
Shinde said, “We have barricaded one spot where the gap between two bridges was small. But another gap between the two bridges is more than 100m and so barricading is just not possible. Our appeal to motorists is to control their speed limit because these fatal accidents mostly occur during non-peak hours, when roads are empty and motorists tend to speed. There have been fatal accidents owing to racing as well.”
Northbound stretch after Centaur bridge, WEH
In the Vakola traffic division, 19 fatal accidents were reported in 2015. This year, five fatal accidents were reported in May.
The police have marked six accident-prone spots, where more than two fatal accidents have occurred every year.
One is the road going down from the Centaur Bridge on the northbound stretch on WEH.
According to traffic police, the reason for multiple accidents on this stretch is human error by motorists, especially bikers, and pedestrians.
Senior police inspector, Namdev Shinde of Vakola traffic police told HT, “The accidents at this spots have occurred involving bikers because they tend to speed and overtake other vehicles. Also, accidents rarely occur here during peak hours as there is bumper to bumper traffic.”
“Secondly, jaywalking is the reason for accidents here. Pedestrians cross the road without using the zebra crossing and vehicles move at high speed. We try to stop them, but it seems more awareness on traffic sense is required,” said the official.
The U-bridge on Bandra-Worli sea link road ahead of Bandra railway bridge
Last year, 20 fatal accidents were reported in the Bandra traffic division and in the first five months of this year, only two accidents took place.
Out of the five accident-prone spots in Bandra division, one is the U-bridge on the Bandra-Worli sea link road ahead of the Bandra railway bridge.
“Three reasons are motorists have no lane discipline and because of this their cars collide with vehicles running parallel,” said senior police inspector Vijaylakshmi Hiremath of Bandra traffic division.
Secondly, the road has a U-shape. The vehicles on this stretch lose control while taking the steep turn at high speed and end up hitting the divider or bumping into another vehicle.
The third reason for accidents is that vehicles converge from two sides of the road — coming down from the bridge and from the reclamation end.
SENAPATI BAPAT MARG, ELPHINSTONE TO DADAR
Two flyovers on the stretch between Phoenix Mills and Dadar junction have made it to the list of blackspots in south Mumbai. However, the police believe the absence of a divider on the whole stretch is the only reason for accidents.
An officer from the Worli traffic division, on condition of anonymity, said, “There is rarely any traffic in that lane so vehicles usually gather speed on the stretch. On the other hand, as the divider is missing, vehicles, which include four-wheelers and two-wheelers, tend to take U-turns — also another reason for accidents.”
At night, drivers speed at more than 100kmph and often in the opposite lane, in order to overtake slow-moving cars. Transport minister Diwakar Raote was involved in an accident at this spot after a tourist vehicle hit his Innova car while trying to overtake. The minister suffered minor injuries and the driver of the tourist car was taken into custody for negligence.
GODREJ SIGNAL, VIKHROLI
The stretch from Vikhroli to Navghar in Mulund on the Eastern Express Highway (EEH) has become a dangerous stretch for motorists.
The traffic police analysis on the fatal accidents done in 2015 revealed Godrej signal on both south and north bound stretch is a black spot with four fatal accidents last year.
At Godrej signal, motorists who approach the signal at a reasonable speed refuse to slow down when the signal turns red. Such vehicles collide against the vehicles crossing the road. At times, some vehicles stop at the signal when vehicles coming from behind crash on them, as the speeding driver does not halt in nick of time.
Traffic police sources have attributed the cause of accidents from Vikhroli to Mulund to speeding, atmospheric conditions, driver dozing off or fatigued, other vehicle encroachment on crossings, signal jumping, animals on roads, vehicle control loss, tyre failure, potholes, vehicle skidding off roads, among others.
Patch near Navghar Lake, Mulund (east)
Unlike western express highway (WEH), which has many residential zones and commercial establishments on both sides, such zones are less on EEH, which has large swatches of mangroves and wetlands such as salt pans at Navghar. It falls under the Coastal Regulation Zone and qualifies as a “protected area”, thus restricting constructions. The open patch is perfect for motorists to speed up. At Navghar, motorists drive at a high speed, at times losing control over the vehicles. Same is the case on Navghar flyover. According to the analysis of the traffic police, three fatal accidents were reported. “The average speed between the highway stretch from Vikhroli to Mulund is 100 kmph to 110 kmph. After Chembur, most of the stretch is free of traffic during non-peak hours and hence vehicles speed-up,” said Satish Patil, senior police inspector, Vikhroli traffic division under whose jurisdiction the area falls.
Local police, too, blame errant motorists. “Rash and negligent driving is proving to be dangerous. Over-speeding and lane cutting are major causes of accidents. We have more cases of two-wheeler accidents, most of them are involved in sudden lane cutting, which results in vehicles colliding with each other,” said Madhav More, senior police inspector, Navghar police station. Police stated that there are people ride triple seats on two-wheelers with kids on the highway, dangerously risking their lives.