Efforts by government agencies to make the Palm Beach Road in Navi Mumbai safer have been unable to end the spate of fatal accidents on the stretch. On Sunday night, two persons, Adarsh Kalra, 20, and Divya Surti, 20, were killed when the motorcycle they were riding went out of control and crashed into the divider.
The accident occurred around 8.30pm near NRI colony signal in Nerul. NRI-Seawoods police said the accident occurred because of speeding. Kalra reportedly lost control of his bike near NRI gate number 2. Police said the victims were not wearing helmets and succumbed to head injuries.
Despite several awareness campaigns and safety measures by the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) and the traffic police, accidents have been taking place on a regular basis along Palm Beach Road.
The 10-km stretch connects Vashi to Belapur. Almost 300 accidents have taken place on the road over the last three years, claiming nearly 50 lives. Many more have been injured.
Traffic police have introduced speed guns on the road and conduct random checks. On its part, the NMMC has improved lighting, laid rumbler strips, put up signs, crash guards and so on. Both agencies say motorists need to be more responsible at the wheel. NMMC city engineer Mohan Dagaonkar says the reason for the alarming number of accidents is that the road is simply not designed for high-speed driving. "People do not realise that this is not a highway, but an internal city road. It was designed by CIDCO to cater to speeds of up to 80km per hour. That is why the speed limit specified is 60km per hour," he said.
Vijay Patil, deputy commissioner of police (traffic) blamed motorists for the mishaps. "It is their responsibility. Parents need to emphasise to their children that speed kills. Schools, too, have a responsibility to drive home the point."
He also called for attention towards the games children play. "Parents need to control the effect of video games that children play. Subconsciously, children believe that a crashed car recovers and continues the race. The fear factor is reduced."