Pandemic of Wrong Side Driving/Riding Near Education Institutions in Bendore-Is there a CURE for It?
Mangaluru: The Smart City of Mangaluru is known for its motorists driving or riding on the wrong side, during day time could be less, but after dark you see a bunch of vehicles going on the wrong side, one-way, no entry etc- and one such location you can see such violation of traffic rules is during the peak hours/school/college morning hours near the educational institutions near Bendore, Mangaluru. While many of the parents and those vehicles which ferry school/college students to the institutions follow and go on the right way, there are quite a few ignorant and careless parents, (who don’t make sure the pillion riders wear helmets see them in the video below) and also auto-rickshaw drivers, van and car drivers go on the wrong way, thereby putting them and others in risk.
And a few parents, including Naveen Rao who had captured the motorists breaking the traffic rules (going on the wrong way) on their smartphones of the not-so-smart motorists had forwarded the footage to Team Mangalorean, to bring awareness among the drivers and riders to follow the rules, and also to take the legal travel route and not the wrong way. And this morning, when this group of parents who watch the movement of the motorists breaking the rules, noticed a truck driver driving a truck bearing Reg No KA 20 AA 7133, coming on the wrong way to deliver the goods to More supermarket, opposite St Agnes Institutions, Bendore, Mangaluru.
By going the wrong way to deliver the goods to the supermarket a bit early, he was putting the lives of pedestrians and motorists at risk. Immediately the group called a traffic police who was patrolling near the St Agnes Institutions, and he took the driver to task and warned him. There were lots of excuses and reasons given by the truck driver as to why he took the wrong way, and the cop did not heed any of his silly explanations. Kudos to this group of parents/public who are trying their best so that the motorists follow the rules, like them.
Yes, we have all been through two difficult years due to the Covid-19 pandemic and are recovering back to normal life now. Around this time, a new ‘disease’ has started becoming increasingly common among the drivers and riders of our roads, to the extent that it has now reached epidemic proportions – at least in Mangaluru. The disease I am referring to is that of ‘wrong side driving/riding’ or ‘driving/riding against the flow of traffic. This disease has started catching everyone irrespective of whether he rides a bike or cycle, drives a car, auto, private bus, garbage collection vehicle, tipper lorries, etc.
Here in Mangaluru, initially, it started because the cops created many ways to ease the flow of traffic and ‘few’ of our citizens did not like the ‘inconvenience’. Then the cops added dividers and removed random U-turns which were causing bottlenecks, so now ‘more’ citizens started driving on the wrong side because ‘who drives 250m for a U-turn bro?’ The disease has also spontaneously mutated to turn on the headlights, hazards and high beams as a means to warn others and this mutation has somehow wirelessly got transmitted to all the citizens who have been affected by this disease!
It has now reached a point where people drive on the wrong side of an “UNDIVIDED” two-way street with no real benefit for doing so I was expressing my frustration about this wrong side menace with my friends and most of them justified this behaviour by saying the government hasn’t made proper roads and are only interested in inconveniencing the public by creating unnecessary one ways. My efforts to explain to them that one way improves traffic flow were countered by rants about the rise in fuel costs and other political discussions which I don’t want to mention here. All these people whom I spoke with are well-educated and well-earning citizens and I failed to convince them that driving on the wrong side is bad! That is when it hit me hard that this disease has now reached pandemic scales with no cure in sight!
I was wondering what can be done to cure this disease. One can say strict enforcement of the law by the cops is the cure, but practically that is not possible in the foreseeable future due to the less number of police headcount. Technology can be a solution but comes with high costs. Even if the technology catches all these offenders, who are going to enforce and collect all the pending fines since the no. of violations will be huge? Seems like our city cops too have stopped bothering these one-way rule breakers and are only worried about stopping two-wheelers without helmets, triple riding, etc.
There are multiple contributing factors but the core reason is the lack of a proper driving system which ensures that every driving licence holder is aware of road signs, driving etiquette and discipline. This is exacerbated by the general lack of civic sense among a lot of us. As long as one gets through others may go to hell is the guiding principle. We call these idiots “wise” for being able to ditch the traffic on the other side, of course, it doesn’t matter that it comes at the cost of others’ inconvenience and safety. They think it’s absolutely fine to do that.
How do you fix that? If you think that education and awareness will do that – we see people who are educated and well-off doing this more often than others. Breaking rules, being inconsiderate and being selfish are embedded in our society so deeply that It’s almost beyond repair. Hopeless, even though this is a town of educated people, and the City is known as an “Education Hub”?