Violating Traffic Rules May Cost Your Life!
When asked with a two wheeler rider along with a female pillion rider (both not wearing helmets) while he was entering the “Road Closed” sign from Nanthoor-Kadri , “Why are you disobeying the sign and entering the road, thereby taking a risk which could result in a accident or a fatality?”- for which he rudely replied ” Saieedu Navualla, Neevu yake mande bechhaa maduthira” ( We are the ones who will die, why are you bearing all the headache?”.
“Seems like the law of the lowest denominator applies- If you are a cyclist, the pedestrian is right, if you are a motorcyclist, the cyclist is right, if you are a motorist, the motorcyclist is right, if you are a bus or a truck, the motorist is right.. If you are a bus or a truck, “you are the king” of all that you purvey because of your size”.
“I have said that in the past, and say it again is that in Chicago City-USA, motorists drive/ride on left side of the road, but here in Mangaluru City-India, motorists drive/ride on whatever that is ‘Left’!”
Mangaluru: If you browse through various city newspapers/websites in English and Kannada, you may see headlines like ” Negligent Driving Snuffs Out Lecturer’s Life”, “Lecturer violates traffic rule, comes under wheels of bus”, and many other captions, relating to the fateful accident that occurred on the Kadri-Nanthoor road that claimed the life of a young and aspiring college lecturer. But these headlines and news of this fatal accident has never stopped the motorists in obeying the traffic signs/rules. In spite of yesterday’s (23 March) accident where a young lady riding a scooter took the road which was closed due to one way, ended in a accident and death, but this morning (24 March) between 8 am-9 am I witnessed hundreds of motorists, not just two-wheelers, even four-wheelers and buses ignoring the “Road Closed” sign and proceeding forward on that stretch.
This shows how ignorant and careless these motorists are – seems like these motorists follow the traffic rules/signs only when the police force is present. Motorists should know that there is no specific timings to obey traffic rules- accidents and death could happen any time. Motorists ignore these traffic rules during non-peak hours or during the absence of cops – but rules are rules to be followed any time of the day, 24X7. Referring to yesterday’s accident which took place around 8.30am in the morning, which many consider as non-peak hours and absence of cops, look what happened? This innocent young lady rider followed other motorists entering the “Road Closed”, and ended up in a mishap, which cost her sister’s life. A precious life lost- May her Sister’s soul in peace! Yes we all sometimes make mistakes, but we need to learn from others mistakes – but it seems like its not happening.
So the question that once again will arise now is, “Even in spite of all these accidents/fatalities happening due to violating of traffic rules/rash driving-riding, etc why are motorists still continue doing it? Is there a way you can stop it forever? Why are the traffic law enforcement officials remaining silent and taking no action to solve these problems? Guess we’ll have to keep our fingers crossed until we get suitable answers for these questions. Also we should not put the blame fully on the motorists for all the accidents/fatalities that happen in town-we need to blame the MCC, the PWD, and others involved in these road constructions for not taking proper safety measures when it comes to the lives of pedestrians and motorists. Even the cops should be corrupt-free and nail those motorists with stiff fines for breaking traffic laws. Only then we could have a accident or death free atmosphere while on our “lovely” city streets.
Yes, we all would agree that driving on city roads is really messy and can easily make any sane being lose his/her sanity. One, we have humongous Traffic which throngs the roads. Two, our roadways are badly constructed and maintained. Potholes and lumps of garbage are a common sight sometimes even on highways. Three, We all are a little impatient, a bit ignorant and a lot over-optimistic when it comes to driving or riding. I wish to discuss the third aspect of this situation as it is something that we can easily contain with a bit of awareness and introspection.
Disobeying traffic rule has been in our Habits, the following attributes are worth mentioning here:
-We either drive without licenses or our licenses are obtained by bribing the officials at the RTO or their agents and not by going for tests.
– Some folks have just moved from the villages to towns and they follow village rules, which are non existent.
– We are always in a hurry to reach our destination. It’s always better to drive/ride under the speed limits, not to take short cuts, over-take, drive rash etc. I’ts always better to reach a bit late rather than hurry and end up in a accident/fatality.
– Our genes contain old warrior class genes and our vehicles are our steeds or wrath’s to be used for battle, fun, luggage carrier and not for transportation. We see two-wheelers/auto-rickshaws and small tempos carry overloaded materials which protrude out and is very hazardous to other moving traffic.
– The law of the lowest denominator applies. If you are a cyclist, the pedestrian is right, if you are a motorcyclist, the cyclist is right, if you are a motorist, the motorcyclist is right, if you are a bus or a truck, the motorist is right.. If you are a bus or a truck, “you are the king” of all that you purvey because of your size.
– The police can be bought. Rich can get away easily from a minor or major accident through bribe/political or high-end influence but the common hard working society has to bear all the consequences and the price with heavy fines or jail.
We all know that the traffic sense is bad in Mangaluru. We all, who follow rules, share this frustration. But many are amazed by the well educated population and well dignified people in this education town but still many get equally frustrated by the traffic sense, for reasons like : Nobody slows down whenever pedestrians cross roads, They overtake from every side, Everybody is in hurry, as in they are rushing for some emergency, They will drive past you almost by an inch in the dangerous speeds without even honking and they will honk every damn time when its not needed, If there are no cops, they will break signals, auto-rickshaw drivers are the worst, who think they are the “Auto-Rajas of Kudla?”, All the bikers, they never stop, till an inch of space left ; They don’t know what low beam is, because they have never used it, they always drive on high beams; they honk where they are not supposed to like near education institutions, hospitals, religious places; Riding bikes on footpaths; Looking for police and jumping signals; Driving on other side of the road if its empty; Most people don’t even know why there is a line in the middle of the road which separates from the incoming traffic and which line means what. (The dotted line means you can cross the road if no incoming traffic, continuous white line you can cross in case of emergencies and Yellow line is Strict no crossing) etc; etc
Another important thing that motorists should know is that when you break traffic laws and get into accident/death, chances are that you may have a tough time claiming insurance benefits, where they could be denied since you are at fault. Because driving/riding in India or for that matter Mangaluru is a lesson in anarchy. But if anarchy is like Indian roads, then it is not so bad once you get used to it. But the main problem is that motorists don’t follow the RTO road rules, because they have their own. The other problem is that most motorists do not know the traffic rules, forget obeying! In conclusion, with most being well-educated and responsible people in this City, we should be an example to others by following strictly traffic rules, thereby avoiding accidents/deaths – so that others also follow in our footsteps so that we can have a City safe for motorists as well as pedestrians.