Photo by Ian Macmillan.
According to Citizen Matters, in a survey conducted by Walkability Asia in seven Indian cities, Bangalore scored the lowest in walkability.
Pedestrian accidents in Bangalore have been increasing over the years, according to the reports of the Bangalore Traffic Police. K.R. Puram in Bangalore had 304 accidents registered, Peenya 254 cases, Kamakshipalya 234 cases, Yelahanka 230 cases, and Whitefield had 218 cases registered.
Sudhir and Sameera Kumar’s “Pedestrians at Crossroads: A Case Study of Bangalore” states that, with Bangalore ranking high in traffic violations in the country, the priority is always with the motorized vehicles and not the pedestrians.
Some of the reasons behind the increase in pedestrian accidents are jumping the signal, over speeding, and the lack of zebra crossings on roads. The number of cases registered in Bangalore for jumping the signal and over speeding is 7,13,454 and 1,30,868 respectively, as per the reports of the Bangalore Traffic Police.
In some cases, there are zebra crossings painted at inappropriate places, for example on speed breakers, which cannot be used for crossing roads.
According to a case study done by Sudhir and Sameera Kumar from Secon Private Limited, there are two types of pedestrian crossings used in India: At-grade and Grade-separated. At-grade pedestrian crossings are provided along minor intersections and mid-blocks for pedestrians to cross the roads safely. Grade-separated crossings are provided based on traffic intensity.
There are various laws in India that ensure safety of pedestrians, a few of which come under the Motor Vehicles Act of 1988. As per the Persons with Disabilities Act of 1995, the government must provide for auditory signals, engraving on the zebra crossings, slopes in pavements for easy access of wheelchairs, and warning signals at appropriate places.
Section 279 of the Indian Penal Code is supposed to protect the pedestrians against road rage and negligent driving. According to Sudhir and Sameera Kumar, “Poor implementation of these laws has resulted in a spike in accident cases.”
One of the solutions offered by traffic analysts in the case study of Bangalore is the implementation of pedestrian zones.
The hurdle that prevents adaptation of a greater number of pedestrian streets in Bangalore is mixed land use. According to a project named Healthy Spaces & Places, mixed land use refers to the usage of land for various residential, commercial, and industrial purposes in an integrated way that supports sustainable forms of transport. This prevents usage of land exclusively as pedestrian zones, as it is believed that mixed land use improves neighborhood amenity.
In the Guidelines for Pedestrian Facilities that was published by the Indian Roads Congress, it is mentioned that construction of proper footpaths and installing guard rails would also help to reduce pedestrian accidents.
Another idea taken up by the Bangalore Traffic Police recently is the usage of speed signboards. These signs will let the drivers know the speed at which their vehicles are travelling, to prevent over speeding.