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Here’s why women two-wheeler riders are at most risk in Pune

A small road accident on Bhau Patil Road in front of Pune IT Park has served as an eye-opener on the hazards suffered by thousands of lady two-wheeler riders in the city.

pune Updated: Aug 09, 2018 15:04 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Pune
women riders,two-wheelers,risk
Women motorists seen waiting at the Chandannagar traffic signal in Pune on Wednesday. (Shankar Narayan/HT PHOTO)

A small road accident on Bhau Patil Road in front of Pune IT Park has served as an eye-opener on the hazards suffered by thousands of lady two-wheeler riders in the city.

On Wednesday morning at around 8 am, a young woman riding on her two wheeler was knocked down by a Bolero in front of the gates of the Pune IT Park. Residing at Karve Nagar, the young lady in her 20s was headed to Dapodi. As is done by most lady riders, she was driving slowly on the left side of Bhau Patil road to avoid fast moving vehicles. However, she was hit by the Bolero which was coming from behind just in front of the Shanta Apte lane near Pune IT Park. While the woman wanted to continue driving on Bhau Patil Road, the Bolero wanted to enter the Shanta Apte lane as it was headed towards Mantri Kinara apartments.

The woman fell on the road as a result of the collision, but fortunately, was not hurt grievously. She suffered bruises and injuries on her right hand and leg. Some early morning IT Park employees and passers-by who gathered at the spot helped the woman to get in touch with her family as her phone was damaged in the accident. An elderly passenger in the white coloured Bolero was advised by the crowd to take the woman to a dispensary and to her residence at Karve Road, which he agreed to do.

This accident has highlighted the hazards faced by thousands of lady riders who commute to college and to their work places day in and day out. Although they ride slowly and safely and mostly by the side of the road, they need to be careful, especially at junctions with side lanes and roads to avoid the kind of accident that happened on Wednesday morning on Bhau Patil Road.

‘2-wheeler riders, cyclists & pedestrians are vulnerable’

Ranjit Gadgil, a programme director at the NGO Parisar said that two wheeler users along with pedestrians and cyclists are considered “vulnerable road users”. Unlike those travelling in a car, these users have no protection and in case of a mishap, chances of a serious injury or even fatality is very high.

While newer motorcycles have some safety features like ABS and DRL (daylight running lights), it is critical that two-wheeler users (both rider and pillion) must wear a helmet - a helmet must be BIS certified and should be securely strapped.

The Supreme Court has stressed that this rule must be strictly enforced by law enforcement agencies. Riding against traffic, breaking signals or using a mobile while riding must be strictly avoided.”

Riding on a two-wheeler in most parts of the city is risky

Riding on a two-wheeler in most parts of the city is risky. Right from being pushed off the road by big vehicles to being bullied by four-wheelers, women have experienced this and more while riding.

Pallavi Giri, 26, an IT professional, rides a total of 20 kilometres everyday, between home and office. She said, “At signals, no one wants to follow the rules. So many times, I am honked at for not immediately moving the vehicle even if the signal is in orange. Also, there are times when people want to stand on the zebra crossing. I get weird looks if I don’t move ahead. And, four wheelers always bully two-wheelers, especially if it is a woman riding. They purposely ride close to the vehicle to scare us.”

Media professional Bhakti Kenjale, 24, said, “Local transport in Pune causes major hindrance. Buses and autorickshaws pay no heed to women riders. They drive like they own the road causing trouble to riders like me. It gets very difficult to ride in such situations. I moved here from Mumbai and I feel Pune lacks traffic sense.”

Echoing her thoughts is Sheetal Kulkarni, 29, a homemaker who uses a moped to drop and pick her kids from school. “The worse part of riding is that two-wheelers try to ride on footpaths and expect you to follow too. You get angry looks if you are waiting at a signal. Everyone is in a hurry but I don’t like to endanger my life in the bargain.”

First Published: Aug 09, 2018 15:04 IST