Beware! B’luru Two-Wheeler Footpath Riders -This Young Lady will Put You in SHAME?
On the outset Team Mangalorean wants to commend and appreciate young lady Manju Thomas, who has been doing heckuva job in controlling Two-Wheeler riders on the footpaths in Bengaluru- and her daring service to the community has been praised by everyone on social media- and one of the recent incidents which took place couple of days ago, where she had an argument with a couple of riders on a scooter taking the footpath, has gone viral with thousands of viewers posting their comments, in favour of Miss Manju. You Go Girl! (Watch the video posted along with this report)
One of the ardent readers of Mangalorean.com, Pawan Kumar, a Sr. Tech Manager at Axiscades Aerospace & Technologies Ltd.-Bengaluru had emailed this statement, “Friends, today this is what happened opposite to Corporation bus stop-Bengaluru (buses going towards Lalbagh) at around 7.30pm. A lady by the name of Manju Thomas stood stubbornly on the footpath and did not allow any two wheelers pass on the footpath. Situation turned bad when two crooks in a white Honda Activa KA 51 EF 7695 objected her standing on footpath and allow their vehicle to pass. They even started abusing her in namma kannada bhaashe, because she didn’t know Kannada language. Myself along with my cab mates got down and joined her to support the lady and after heated argument they got down their activa on road.
“Hats off to Manju Thomas for her bravery and making them realize the importance of pedestrian footpath. Later I understood that she stands there everyday after her work for an hour and guides all two wheelers to take the road instead of footpath. She deserves full respect. Please share this information to as many people till it reaches the police to take action.” adds Pavan. Why not, Pavan? Mangalorean.com has always been in the forefront in highlighting civic issues or problems faced by the commuters/motorists/pedestrians- and this incident when published will bring awareness among the two-wheeler riders not only in Bengaluru-but also in Mangaluru, where we also see quite a few two-wheeler taking a short-cut riding on the footpaths.
Whoever said footpaths are for pedestrians? In Bengaluru, and for that matter, even in Mangaluru it is more than likely that you’ll turn around to find a two-wheeler honking at pedestrians, demanding the right of way. Accounting for almost 70 per cent of all vehicles in both these two cities, two-wheelers are literally spilling onto the footpaths, causing inconvenience to pedestrians. The Bengaluru Traffic Police has been dealing with footpath riding quite seriously. In 2017, 18,889 cases were booked by the Bengaluru Traffic Police which comes to an average of 1574 cases per month. In January 2018, the BTP’s website states that 1556 cases have been booked. Even in spite of Bengaluru police issuing violations tickets to thousands of two-wheeler riders going on footpaths- and also confiscated the driving licenses of thousands of offenders and forwarded them to the Transport Department with a recommendation for their suspension- still traffic violations is on the rise. The only way to reduce these violations is to slap them with heavy fines- and not Rs 100-200.
Going around Mangaluru City, Team Mangalorean talked to few pedestrians/citizens about two-wheeler riders riding on the footpaths- and we received a bunch of feed backs, literally blaming these riders for their stupidity and carelessness towards pedestrians: Ramesh, a professor at a reputed college said, “They (two-wheelers riders) intentionally go up on the footpath to avoid peak hour traffic. Whichever side I’m on, they go on the opposite side.” Housewife Sumitha said she dreads walking on the footpaths. “Two-wheelers on footpaths scare me. It is a disturbance. They ought to stay on the road.” “There is no space to walk on the footpaths. I wouldn’t give a two-wheeler the right of way on the sidewalk. Also barriers can be put up to prevent this from happening. ”said a senior citizen Marcel Pinto.
A professor employed at a Business Management College, who wanted to remain anonymous said, “Who says riding on footpath- it’s legal? I once saw a biker drive right into the hands of a cop (he didn’t notice the cop standing there waiting for him). Last thing I saw as I was walking away was the biker apologizing and pleading the cop to not fine him. This is one of the many annoying things in Mangaluru. Many times, I’ve been honked at from behind as I was walking on the footpath on MG Road, in front of TMA Pai Convention Hall! It’s so annoying. Usually, when that happens, I deliberately walk in front of the bike blocking his way. He can honk all he wants. What irks me the most is when they do this with their child riding on the bike with them! Is this what they want to teach their children? Is this the example we should make for our future generation? “Be the change you want to see” – Gandhi. If we see something around us that we do not approve of, we should start by making sure that we set a good example for others. We can then spread this message to our friends and family and thus bring about a positive change in our society.”
“There is a reason why footpaths are called “FOOT-PATHS”. It is absolutely illegal to ride a vehicle on a footpath; not only in Bengaluru, Mangaluru but anywhere. The footpaths are only meant to be used by the pedestrians. Period!” said college student Prathiba. “Leave about Mangaluru, it is illegal anywhere in the world. The basic meaning of Footpath is the path used by the people who go by foot. It doesn’t mean that bikers can drive on the footpath” said Susan, an IT employee. Meanwhile, ACP Traffic Manjunath Shetty after the phone-in programme held by Police Commissioner T R Suresh speaking to Team Mangalorean said, “Such violators are not only booked for footpath riding, they are also charged with rash and negligent driving. Though citizens sought to hold the police accountable for the menace, the traffic police is finding itself understaffed and is, in turn, encouraging the public to report the violations through social media. the menace is severe in here. To report the violations, citizens can capture a picture of the violation on their mobile phones and can either post it on the traffic police’s Facebook page or website.
In conclusion, Mangaluru also need brave young women like Manju Thomas, who also bring down footpath riding by Two-wheeler riders who still continue to hog footpaths, putting pedestrians at grave risk. From hurling abuse to complaining to the traffic police, pedestrians have tried everything, but sadly the menace continues. The police say they are doing their bit by recommending revocation of the licences of offenders. They levy fines too. But seems like nothing is working right. There is no point spending money on campaigns against footpath riding. Requests don’t seem to be working. More barriers to prevent two-wheelers from getting on to footpaths should be erected. MCC need to barricade footpaths so that it becomes unfriendly for motorists and safe for pedestrians.
Most of the time this practice is seen during peak hours, when the traffic police are stretched to the maximum. It is learnt that Riding on the footpath is punishable under a clause titled ‘Dangerous Drive Two Wheeler’ in the Motor Vehicles Act and attracts a penalty of Rs 300. At times these riders don’t stop even when they see a policeman, and the police don’t chase them as it could lead to scary accidents. A few violators, when caught, have been thrashed by the pedestrians. But many such cases go unnoticed as no complaint is lodged.Motorcyclists who plough onto footpaths caring little for the safety of pedestrians should lose their driving licence. The City police should launch a special drive to enforce stringent measures – from penalizing to suspension of licences – to check driving on the footpath.