After a long delay and multiple accidents over the past few years that claimed at least five lives, the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation has finally decided to replace unwieldy speed-breakers with “low-lying” rumble strips “that slow down vehicle speeds but do not threaten lives”.
The civic administration last week started laying the rumble strips, marking them in white to ensure they are easily visible.
Municipal Commissioner Rajeev Jadhav told The Indian Express that they had been receiving complaints regarding unwieldy speed-breakers leading to accidents. The rumble strips, he said, minimised chances of a speeding two-wheeler suddenly bumping into it and meeting with an accident. “No new speed-breakers will be placed, but instead rumble strips will come up,” he said.
One of the biggest tragedies Pimpri-Chinchwad saw related to the death of 21-year-old Amit Waghere. For a year, Amit lay in coma at a private hospital. The two-wheeler on which he was riding pillion had hit an “abnormal sized” speed-breaker. Amit had fallen on his head and was rushed to a private hospital, where he spent nearly a year, undergoing four operations. His family incurred a bill of nearly Rs 1 crore. “I think Amit would not have died if the speed-breaker was not as unwieldy as it was,” said Deputy Mayor Prabhakar Waghere, who also happens to be Amit’s uncle.
After Amit’s death six months ago, the PCMC started a serious re-look at the kind of speed-breakers that need to be put on the city’s roads.
Activists said the 13-km Pune-Mumbai highway have the “deadliest” speed-breakers. “They especially threaten the lives of bus commuters…those who sit in PMPML buses virtually are thrown in the air as the bus bumps in to the unwieldy speed-breakers,” said advocate Smita Shete.
Officials said since they wanted to go by Indian Road Congress norms, the rumbler strips did not fit into their scheme of things. “However, in view of the increasing number of accidents due to bulky speed-breakers, we thought of rumble strips,” they said. The officials said rumble strips caused tactile vibration and audible rumbling which are like “wake-up” call for inattentive drivers.
Kiran Mote, a corporator, said, “I am probably the first corporator who has already got the rumble strips fixed in my prabhag in Kasarwadi. Residents who used to complain about damage to vehicle or danger to their life are not complaining any more,” he said.
Rishikesh Marale, a collegian, said, “I had suffered severe damage to my two-wheeler because of the constant bumps it suffered due to the presence of the huge sized speed-breakers. I never understood why the civic administration does not think of the safety citizens. And why it takes them so much time to decide.”
Deepak Vichare, a resident of Masulkar, said, “I have survived several times, especially in the night. It is very difficult to spot the bulky speed-breakers. Rumble strips experiment should have been implemented long time back. On national ways, rumble strips are a common sight,” he said.