November 9, 2017 12:38:50 am
WHO should be held responsible if a two-wheeler rider dies because of an ‘unmarked’ speed-breaker? According to the Pune City Police, the “youth is responsible for his own death”, and not the officials who had set up the speed-breaker.
Uddhav Kute, 25, died on Monday afternoon when his two-wheeler skidded off an “unmarked” speed-breaker on the Kondhwa-Katraj Bypass. “After investigating the spot, we have filed a case of rash and negligent driving against Kute,” said Police Inspector Kamlakar Takawane.
The police have come to the conclusion that the accident took place because Kute was speeding, and when his two-wheeler hit the speed-breaker, it crashed into a nearby pole.
Admitting that the speed-breaker was not properly marked, an officer from the Bharati Vidyapeeth police station said, “There were white markings, but those markings had faded… We assume that the speed-breaker was constructed as per the Indian Road Congress norms.”
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The police said they will not conduct any investigation on the state of the speed-breaker and will not file a case against a civic official.
Civic activists, such as Vivek Velenkar of Sajag Nagrik Manch, have demanded that a case of culpable homicide should be filed in connection with the case. “… What purpose does it serve to file a case against the person who is dead? If the police are saying that the speed-breaker was not marked in white stripes, it becomes a fit case of negligence against officials,” he said.
Vijay Kumbhar of Surajya Sangharsh Samiti agreed with Velenkar, saying, “It seems that the rider could not spot the speed-breaker, which means the civic officials have been negligent. Then why is Pune police holding only the dead guilty, instead of those who were actually negligent?”
Kumbhar said even dividers which have openings at wrong places, or barricades that protrude on the roads and cause accidents, should be considered as “acts of negligence”, and civic officials should be held responsible for them.
Velenkar pointed out that in 2005, the Bombay High Court had ruled that all speed-breakers should adhere to IRC norms.
Prashant Inamdar, convenor of Pedestrians First, said, “If police have filed a case against the deceased, a case of maximum liability, against those who set up the speed-breaker, is also possible.”
Inamdar said it is important to carry out a thorough investigation to fix responsibility and accountability for the accident. “Experts from both civic bodies and traffic police should be appointed to find out what exactly caused the accident. Only a thorough investigation will lead to corrective action. Otherwise, accidents will continue to occur and the dead will continue to have a complaint registered against their name,” he said.
Inamdar said it should be ascertained whether there was a prominent retro-reflective cautionary signboard — saying ‘speed breaker ahead’ — 40 metres before the speed breaker, which gives the driver time to slow down. “It should be investigated whether there was a signboard, with a downward pointing arrow, at the location of the speed breaker. And whether the speed breaker had been painted with alternate black and white stripes…,” he said.
When queried on the matter, Pune Police Commissioner Rashmi Shukla said she will investigate the matter, while Mayor Mukta Tilak said she will look into it.
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