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Motorcyclists encroach on FoBs along Delhi-Gurugram expressway to cut travel time

Bikers use overbridges at IFFCO Chowk, Hero Honda Chowk, Rajiv Chowk to cut travel time and distance.

gurgaon Updated: Jun 04, 2018 11:26 IST
Kartik Kumar
Kartik Kumar
Hindustan Times, Gurugram
Delhi Gurgaon Expressway,Foot Over Bridge,IFFCO Chowk
Bike riders approach from both sides on a foot overbridge leaving no space for people to walk. The Iffco Chowk FoB is accessed more by bikers than pedestrians to cross the road. (Parveen Kumar/HT Photo)

Foot overbridges (Fobs) built along the Delhi Gurgaon Expressway, at Iffco Chowk, Hero Honda Chowk, and Rajiv Chowk, have become unsafe for pedestrians as they are being used by two-wheeler riders looking to cross a junction in less time or as short cuts. This encroachment of the pedestrian facility, and lack of rule enforcement by the traffic police has left the most vulnerable section of road users exposed to the threat of meeting with accidents.

Motorists said the increased distance between turns in the expressway have left them with no choice. “After the construction of an underpass and flyover, the nearest cut for taking a turn towards New Delhi is at Kherki Daula, 5km from Hero Honda Chowk. I have no choice but to use the FOB to cross the road. This is not correct, but I blame the authorities for it,” Sajid Ansari, a resident of Ghatola village, said.

Two-wheeler riders said they also use the Fobs to avoid traffic congestion. “Shankar Chowk is heavily congested during peak hours. So, to go towards MG Road, I simply cross over using the Fobs at Iffco Chowk. This cuts my travel time by 25 minutes,” Kiran Dev Singh, a Sikanderpur resident, said.

Pedestrians said that they’re now extra cautious while walking on the Fobs as two-wheeler riders zip past at high speeds.

What is right of way?
It is the legal right of a pedestrian or vehicle to proceed with precedence over others in a particular situation or place
Rules that safeguard pedestrians’ right of way
INDIA
  • There are no rules or guidelines that specifically safeguard the interests of pedestrians, road safety experts said
  • Provisions under the Indian Penal Code, Motor Vehicle Act and Rules of the Road Regulation penalize those who violate rules and endanger the lives of pedestrians
  • Section 138, clauses h and i, of the Motor Vehicle Act allows states to prevent motorist from for driving or parking on pavements
  • Rule 11 of the Rules of the Road Regulation specifies motorist can’t use footpaths unless a traffic police official gives approval. Rule 15 states that a vehicle cannot be parked on a footpath or pedestrian crossing
  • Relevant IPC sections are 279 (rash driving) and 304-A (death by negligence)
  • In 2017, the Punjab and Haryana high court issued a notice to the Haryana and Punjab state governments to make ‘right to walk’ a fundamental right.
OTHER COUNTRIES
  • NETHERLANDS: Several areas across the country have 30 km/h zones meant to be accessed by pedestrians and cyclists only.
  • KAMPALA, UGANDA: 2012 law protects pedestrians and cyclists through pavements, cycle lanes and roads that are elderdly and disabled friendly
  • ALBERTA AND ONTARIO, CANADA: All vehicles have to stop at all crosswalks until pedestrians cross the road.

Odisha migrant Bappi Biswal, who resides in Jharsa village, uses the FOB at Iffco Chowk every day, and has met with accidents because of it.

“On two occasions, I was hit by a two-wheeler and collapsed. Fortunately, the injuries were minor. I can’t afford medical expenses,” he said.

Pedestrians said the FOB at Hero Honda Chowk is the worstaffected, especially during peak hours. “Two-wheelers come from both sides of the FOB. This is a common sight during peak hours at the Hero Honda FOB. People on foot walk in the middle to avoid being hit,” Amit Saini, a resident of Ghatola village, said.

Despite being aware of the problems, authorities concerned have done little to address them.

The National Highways Authority of India officials (NHAI) said expressway concessionaire Millennium City Expressways Private Limited (MCEPL) is responsible for ensuring Fobs are not used by motorists. However, the concessionaire said they lack the “enforcement power” to address this problem.

“Signboards informing two-wheeler riders from entering the Fobs are in place. This is an enforcement issue, which must be handled by the MCEPL with assistance from the traffic police,” NHAI project director Ashok Sharma said.

MCEPL CEO S Raguraman said, “We have deployed marshals at the Fobs. Since they cannot penalise violators, deploying them becomes pointless. We have discussed this issue with traffic police on several occasions.”

ACP (highways) Hira Singh said, “For now, the traffic police has advised officials concerned to install iron grills or small gates at the entrance of Fobs to stop two-wheelers.”

Road experts suggest that to address this intrusion, authorities must first identify the problem that forces two-wheeler riders to use the FOB and then work on the enforcement aspect.

“If the reasons compelling two-wheeler riders to access Fobs are other than those emerging from bad engineering, then they must be penalised and rules must be enforced more strictly,” Sewa Ram, professor of transport planning at the School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi, said.

First Published: Jun 04, 2018 08:02 IST