Strange it may look, but pedestrians constitute the largest single group of people dying in road accidents in Chandigarh. Every year over the last five years, about one-third of all accident victims were pedestrians.
Together with cyclists, the pedestrians account for more than 60 per cent deaths on roads.
Data obtained from the Chandigarh Police shows that while the number of fatal accidents has actually declined over the last five years, the percentage of cyclists among the victims has consistently increased from 14.49 in 2010 to 30.77 in 2013.
Officers of the UT Police blame it on increasing number of motor vehicles, rash driving, motorists driving on zebra crossings, cyclists not using the cycle tracks, and pedestrians crossing roads without waiting for traffic lights to turn green.
At a meeting of the State Level Road Safety Council earlier this month, the issue of pedestrians and cyclists becoming the victims was discussed. The council passed instructions to the police “to ensure safety of pedestrians, cyclists, children, senior citizens and persons with special needs’’ who are particularly vulnerable.
“We are spreading road safety awareness with the help of exhibition vans which are sent to educational institutions daily. Also, we have sent certain proposals for having the walkways improved so that more people use them,” said SSP (Traffic and Security) Maneesh Chaudhry.
The police regularly challan drivers for over-speeding, jumping traffic lights, or driving on the zebra crossing. Now they are looking for provisions which can be used to challan cyclists who do not use the cycle tracks. “This is the only solution to ensure that cyclists use the tracks,” said the SSP.
At present, there is no provision in the Motor Vehicle Act to challan the cyclists.
But why do cyclists not use cycle tracks?
Ram Bahadur, a cyclist who lives at Hallomarja and goes to Industrial Area for work, said, “During office hours, everyone is in a hurry. Using the cycle track just lengthens the path and we have to cross the roundabout anyway.’’