Published : Times of India
Road humps are accepted as traffic calming devices all over the world.However,proliferation of road humps in Bangalore has converted roads into roller-coaster rides and a serious traffic hazard.On the one hand,there is a hue and cry about traffic moving at snails pace;on the other,there is such a huge demand for road humps that if the authorities dont make them,people themselves make one as per their convenience.
Every month,we receive hundreds of applications for making fresh road humps and hundreds for removing existing ones.The irony is that,contrary to public perception,we neither make nor break road humps.Yes,we do struggle to minimize the impact of bad road humps.
Interestingly,even the most ardent opponents of road humps want one in front of their house i.e.everyone should slow down in front of my house but I should not be made to slow down elsewhere.I,myself,mine being the solution to the traffic problem.Every time there is a fatal accident,there is instantaneous demand of putting a road hump at the spot.Schools,colleges,malls,offices,residential areas everyone wants road humps in front of their institution,not realizing that road humps per se do not avoid accidents.
Most road accidents take place due to bad road user behaviour,not only of motorists but in many cases the deceased.Instead of tackling these,we look for an easy solution by compelling authorities for road humps or putting it ourselves instead.We are quick to shift responsibility for bad driving or bad pedestrian behaviour to the absence of road humps.Road humps by themselves do not slow down the traffic;it is motorists who have to slow down seeing a road hump and if he does not,it can lead to a disaster.
The police are often blamed for nonstandard road humps.But the police do not make any road humps.Besides,not all road humps are made by civic agencies.More often than not,it is the unholy liaison between contractors and residents which results in these road humps most of which dont meet any standards.
Also,its impossible to design a road hump which would meet the requirements of calming the mixed traffic ranging from trucks to autorickshaws.That is why traffic police have been insisting on doing away with road humps and instead replace these with high raised pedestrian crossings which serve dual purpose of slowing down the traffic and allowing the pedestrian to cross over it.Besides,we are also aiming at policy of no road hump at signalised junction;road humps on the branch road where it merges the main road and also ensuring cautionary signboards,painting and reflective studs to alert the motorists about presence of a road hump.
The bigger challenge is to understand that appropriate road user behaviour and not the road humps can make the road safer.The foremost task for the police is to get the existing non-standard road humps replaced by high raised pedestrian crossings instead of putting more on new locations.
(The writer is Additional Commissioner
of Police,traffic and security)
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