The death of the two men on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway near the Kon Village in Raigad district on Friday night has again served a gruesome reminder how lack of infrastructure and the police’s tacit approval of people illegally crossing the road are putting lives at risk.
“We have advised people to check both sides before crossing the road [expressway],” said Maloji Shinde, senior inspector of Panvel Taluka police station, under whose jurisdiction the accident took place.
Shinde’s comments highlight how police officials are unaware of laws against jaywalking. Even in Mumbai, not even a single case of jaywalking has been registered since 2012.
On Friday, Krushna Chavan, 40, and Dullappa Bhise, 50, were hit by a car while they were crossing the expressway. Officials said autopsy reports revealed the two men were under the influence of alcohol, while the driver was sober. The driver, however, was arrested from the spot.
“While there are no foot bridges or underpasses on the expressway, people are forced to take risks. We undertake awareness campaigns to ensure pedestrians take proper precautions,” said Shinde. “Up to four kilometres from the accident spot, there is no safe crossing,” said another officer, adding that little can be done to stop jaywalking.
A study was undertaken by the JP Research India on the frequent accidents on the Mumbai Pune Expressway between 2012 and 2014. The report, which was submitted to the Maharashtra State Highway police, states that 58% of the accidents occurred on the expressway were due to human error. “Once a proper infrastructure is in place, we can start enforcing laws that make jaywalking an office,” said a traffic police official.