Considered the cheapest mode of transport since ages,the rickshaw,and its motorised cousin the autorickshaw,has emerged as the citys latest traffic menace. Traffic police personnel state that in the majority of the accidents,passengers are the victims.
In 2008,41 accidents involving rickshaws and autorickshaws were registered with the Chandigarh Police,in which 11 people lost their lives. In 2007,not a single fatal accident involving a rickshaw was reported but the number went up to three in 2008. In all three cases,it was the passenger sitting at the back who died. In case of autorickshaws,the number of fatal accidents reported in 2008 was eight. In 2007,the number of fatalities was nine.
For the traffic police and even car drivers,rickshaws are the biggest nuisance on the road. Classified as slow-moving traffic,the Motor Vehicles Act is not applicable to rickshaws. With only a few rickshaw-pullers opting to ply on the cycle tracks in the city,the menace has assumed alarming proportions.
Give us better cycle tracks
At a workshop on road safety,organised by the Chandigarh Traffic Police on Sunday,rickshaw-pullers complained that the tracks were rough and full of obstacles. A majority of the tracks are obstructed by branches of trees which makes it impossible to manoeuvre a rickshaw. Also,there are no streetlights, said Ram Shanker,a rickshaw-puller. Superintendent of Police (Traffic) H S Doon,who presided over the workshop,assured the rickshaw-pullers that the police will survey all the cycle tracks in the city and then write to the Administration to improve them. Many sectors of the city do not have such tracks. We will also construct more such tracks after the survey is complete, Doon added.
Citys oldest rickshaw-puller awarded
Bhagwadeep Prashad,pulling rickshaws for the last 35 years,was recognised as the citys oldest rickshaw-puller and awarded a watch by Traffic Marshal Gurnam Singh. All the 50 rickshaw-pullers who attended the workshop were given free blankets and given tips on responsible driving by the traffic police.