‘Focus is on motorists, rights of pedestrians are not recognised’ | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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‘Focus is on motorists, rights of pedestrians are not recognised’

mumbai Updated: Mar 14, 2013 01:09 IST
Puja Changoiwala

Ashok Datar, transport expert, talks about road safety, pedetrian behaviour and how can number of accidents be reduced and the roads are made safer.

What makes pedestrians the most vulnerable section on roads?
Mumbai is a city with a lot of pedestrians, but the problem is that no one acknowledges it. All the discourse and dialogue is focused on cars and related issues such as congestion, over-crowding, traffic, etc.

We don’t really look at the state of pedestrians. Their rights are not recognised and it can be seen in the fact that there are no adequate pedestrian crossings.

The whole social psychology is that the life of a pedestrian is not important and the rising figures of casualties only make it obvious.

What do you think can be done to make roads safer for pedestrians?
I think the answer lies in education and technology-based enforcement. In Mumbai, most people think that they can get away after committing a crime or causing accidents.

The compliance system is extremely poor. I think it is time the government tightened the screw and adopted modern ways of deterrence.

In foreign countries, every traffic violation is recorded on a computerised database and if the number of traffic violations carried out by the driver exceeds the permissible limit, the licence might stand cancelled. If employed here, the mechanism will cut corruption and ensure that offenders are certainly fined for violations.

What do you think the people can do to ensure that the number of accidents are reduced and that the roads are safer?
People have to be more patient and responsible. Having a lax attitude towards pedestrians is part of our psyche, a socially-accepted behaviour.

We flout rules without much thought, but what we don’t realise is that it costs lives.

Mumbaiites have to take on the responsibility, become self-disciplined and follow traffic and safety rules. Apart from taking measures at an individual level, the media and the government should also work on creating awareness amongst the people and discard ideas that fast or reckless driving is fun.