Speed demons giving city sleepless nights

Apr 14, 2012, 04:44 IST | A Correspondent

From drag racing to loud honking, complaints abound from residents of different parts of the city about motorists who have been ruining their nighttime peace with their rash driving

It has been observed that nocturnal drivers are the worst of the lot when it comes to abiding by traffic norms in the city and the situation is only getting from bad to worse. These motorists, including both two-wheelers and four-wheelers, lack respect for signals. “I was taking a post-dinner stroll at a junction near Fort around 11.15 pm, when a four-wheeler zoom past me. The driver missed by just a few centimetres and sped away as if nothing had happened,” grumbled D Singh, a Churchgate resident.

Most of these motorists come out of restaurants or pubs and are allegedly driving under the influence of alcohol. As per Mumbai Traffic Police official figures, till February, there have been 17 accidents, in which all the victims have lost their lives. Notably, all these accidents have taken place between 11 pm to 6 am. Moreover, government authorities have been blaming restaurant owners for not taking adequate care of their clients. “It is high time that these establishments take responsibility of patrons who visit the joint and prevent drink driving incidents,” said Brijesh Singh, Additional Commissioner (Traffic). Mentioned below are some of the notorious locations identified by MiD DAY, where the motorists’ menace is at its peak post 11 pm.

J P Road in Seven Bungalows, Andheri
With a chain of restaurants, cafes and pubs, all falling in the same line, the location is a hotspot for late-night partygoers. Since the lane going towards Andheri has been shut because of the under construction Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar Metro rail, the area witnesses ugly traffic jams. Vehicles going to and fro have to share the side of the road closest to these party joints, resulting is extremely slow vehicular movement. To make matters worse, the signal that joins Juhu Versova Link Road to J P Road has defunct.

Accidents here are rare, as there is a minimum of two to three traffic cops deployed in the area. However, the under-construction metro line is leading to ugly traffic jams and closure of one half of the road. Due to free traffic movement in the past, this intersection hardly witnessed any traffic jams. But now, everything has changed
— Shekhar Gowda, a local vendor

Juhu Tara Road
Traffic is a major issue near Ramada Hotel as motorists carelessly park their vehicles on both the sides of the road. Situation is worse for motorists coming from Vaikunthlal Mehta (V M) Road and Juhu Road, as they get trapped in heavy traffic outside Tulip Star Hotel, and Mahesh Lunch Home.

We are here from midnight till 2 am to ensure the roads are safe for other motorists. We conduct spot tests to determine whether drivers are fit to drive or not. Most of the traffic comes from V M Road and Juhu Chowpatty, and continues to pour in till early morning.
— A police official

The main culprits for traffic jams are those motorists, who park their vehicles outside restaurants and hotels, occupying the few functioning lanes on the road. Outside Sukh Sagar restaurant near the beach, and the Mahesh Lunch Home, there is always traffic in the evenings because cars occupy most of the narrow lanes. The police too, turn a blind eye to the situation
— Anil Singh, motorist

Whenever functions and parties are hosted at Tulip Star, guests park their vehicles right outside the hotel. The police should fine such people to set an example and curb illegal parking
— Sanjay Singh, resident

Swami Vivekananda (SV) Road, Bandra
The road is infamous for some horrific accidents in the past. However, residents say that the stretch towards Bandra is relatively free of accidents at night in spite of its proximity to numerous watering holes and clubs. However, honking and other noises made by speeding vehicles at night remain their major concern.

S V Road witnesses a lot of rash driving at night, especially after 11 pm when the road is clear. Though I can’t recall many accidents taking place there, pedestrians need to be alert at night and watch out for speeding vehicles, especially near the Bandra Petrol Pump junction
— An officer from Bandra police station

S V Road and Linking Road are infamous for late night honking, which is extremely frustrating
— Sanjay Khanna, businessman

Carter Road, Bandra
This scenic 2-km stretch along the Bandra coastline has become a racetrack for speed demons, especially on weekends. Residents complain that super bikes and sports cars are often raced on the road at night, disrupting their sleep. However, the cops disagree saying that the length of the road is too short for racing.

Carter Road is too short for racing. Besides, very few accidents have been reported on this stretch
— Police officer, Bandra police station

This road is frequented by speed devils and stuntmen, which is annoying for residents like me. Saturday and Sunday nights are the worst when bikers come to show off their machines. Besides, speed breakers have lost their colouration, making them hard to spot at night
— Sujay Paulose, media professional

Marine Drive
While a good road is something which most of the Mumbaikars dream of, this very aspect has become a nuisance for the locals of Marine Drive. Time and again, residents have been complaining about the motorists’ menace, who race their vehicles on smooth roads in the area.

Occasionally, we do receive complaints from residents and to address their grievances, we have deployed policemen at the main junctions during nighttime. Biker problem is more on weekends.
— Zunjarrao Gharai, Senior PI, Marine Drive Police Station

Once upon a time, bikers had become a daily nuisance. But after complaining to the police we now have to tolerate them only on weekends
— Mukesh Jain, a local

Mith Chowky, Malad Link Road
With several pubs and restaurants lined along the roadside, the Mith Chowky Junction is one of the most congested roads in the area, especially on weekends. Apart from vehicular traffic, one can see hordes of pedestrians randomly crossing the road amidst flowing traffic. This junction is the meeting point of four major roads — Link Road (northbound and southbound), the road coming from Malad station and the road going to Marve, making it one of the most congested junctions in the entire suburban region.

The traffic situation is horrendous at the junction, especially on weekends. Even though traffic cops are deployed on weekends to decongest the road, motorists jump signals, thus increasing chances of accidents. Just two days ago, I was hit by a speeding tempo, which fled the spot after the incident. Besides, pedestrians randomly cross the road, which is a nuisance
— Traffic official

I was on my bike and crossing this junction the other day, when suddenly a pedestrian crossed the road in spite of the flowing traffic. In order to avoid collision, I took a sharp turn and my bike skidded off the road. I dislocated my shoulder in the accident
— Jay Vazir

The main issue at this junction is that both the motorists as well as the pedestrians have zero respect for traffic norms
— Ronnie D’souza, hotelier 

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