City Road User Concerns: Priorities & Solutions by CEAI
It would be an understatement if we said that India needs to make improvements with respect to road safety. Accidents are such a common occurrence in India that one might not find the statistics surprising. In 2019 alone, 150,000 lives were lost to road mishaps. This is not the only statistic that depict the frequency of such accidents.
150,000 lives lost to road accidents amounts to one death every three minutes. In 2019, the daily number of pedestrians killed in roadside accidents was 70, which is double of the daily number of deaths in 2014. The two-wheeler users are prone to accidents because of the obvious nature of the vehicles. It is even more important to improve the conditions for two-wheeler drivers because it is the first choice for younger commuters. The rise of e-commerce and other delivery based businesses has led to further increase in the use of two-wheelers. This being said, two-wheelers are 30 times more prone to road accidents than cars on a per kilometre journey. Due to lack of protection and limited use of riding gears in India, two-wheeler accidents lead to a lot of deaths and disabilities.
The emotional cost incurred by the families of the bereaved and the monetary problems they might face later cannot be measured. Every loss of life affects several other lives.
The problem identification would be the primary step to counter such a major problem. The most vulnerable group of individuals on the roads are the pedestrians, then the cyclists, then the two wheeler riders and then the four wheeled vehicle users. This being said, the planning of roads is more oriented towards making the movement of the four wheeled vehicles, both freight and private vehicles, faster. Hence, it is important to highlight the safety of vulnerable individuals on the road side during the road planning process.
Measures to Reduce Roadside Accidents:
- Prioritize Pedestrians’ Safety
The most vulnerable group needs wider footpaths and ease of crossing the roads. This group of individuals also require a better way to mount public transportation. Appropriate stopping zones for the public buses and the bus drivers following the said rules would make a huge difference. The Central Government has already started taking steps towards this idea. It has set a goal of transforming over 10,000 kilometers of roads wherein the priority will be given to pedestrians and cyclists. A number of City roads have a separate cycle lane with a barricade as protection.
- Safety oriented Road Planning
It is important to bring in innovative ideas at interventions which can help create a safer space for more vulnerable groups on roads – namely pedestrians and two-wheeler users. Protected Bike-lanes and vehicle free zones are a couple of examples that are a result of such interventions. This will lead to reduction of a lot of road problems and mishaps.
- Effective Use of Technology to improve Discipline on the Roads
The effective enforcement of laws is necessary. For this purpose, installation of CCTVs and Speed Cameras should be taken up. Furthermore, appropriate road signs and traffic lights should be well maintained.
- Learn from Others
Implement what other countries have to successfully reduce road accidents, and at the same time learn from the mistakes committed by other countries that resulted in failure in reducing road accidents.
Taipei, for instance, has installed advanced stop boxes for two-wheelers at road intersections.
Global New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) has also released a recommendation stating that it should be mandated by the governments of the countries to install crash avoidance technologies, such as anti-lock braking system and autonomous emergency braking system, in future vehicles.
Designing cities that are safer for people should be given utmost priority. The Government has started taking measures to do the same, and this change in mindset in designing the roads is a big step. Beyond the planning, it is also the responsibility of the citizens to make sure they take appropriate measures for their and others’ safety. Wearing safety gears and following rules would make a huge difference. No life can be taken for granted.