The perils of being a pedestrian

Yesterday’s horrific accident, in which a recently-married couple died, only highlights the dangers that lurk daily on our roads.

This was an instance of a couple on a two-wheeler, but the fact remains that anyone out of doors in the city is vulnerable to injury or death caused by some vehicle or the other.

Two-wheelers tend to be faster-moving, and therefore may be more prone to mishaps. The absence of helmets is a factor that adds to injuries
sustained by two-wheeler riders and their pillions.

The worst off, however, are pedestrians — those who choose to avoid causing vehicular pollution and opt for public transport, or walk. In return, they bear the brunt of riders and drivers who treat the roads like a personal merry-go-round and traffic signals as just an inconvenience to be avoided and evaded whenever possible.

We read reports regularly about pedestrians knocked over by vehicles of all types. Evidently, drivers do not receive driving skills along with their licences. At the heart of the matter is the simple fact that most people are discourteous, often rude, and are callous about any injury their reckless behaviour costs.

Pedestrians are blamed for ‘coming in the way of the vehicle’ when the vehicle is either jumping a red light or going the wrong way.

As it is, people on foot have a hard time navigating footpaths which are crammed with vendors, makeshift shanties and encroaching shopfronts. Often, there is just no space to walk and the pedestrian has no choice but to step on to the road.

Then comes the hazard of crossing the road. Even when one waits for the pedestrian signal to turn green, traffic keeps moving, the drivers are apparently reluctant to stop even for the half-minute red signal. Pedestrians who venture to cross have to keep an eye out for these impatient vehicles. Even when the vehicles do stop, the drivers seem to be unable to keep their machines still — they inch forward until pedestrians trying to cross are forced practically into the middle of crossroads. This can cause accidents.

If driving causes elevated blood pressure and other stress-related ailments, braving the city streets on foot has to be another cause of anxiety and high blood pressure. 

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