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How to make NH7 Safer

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EnvironmentTraffic

I had the opportunity to drive down NH7 to the BIA last evening and again this morning. Some of the things that immediately struck me was that Yesterday, the taxis were driving at more reasonable speeds and why? At critical sections of the road there were these "interceptor" vehicles equipped with radar speed guns and were fining offenders on the spot.

I think that this definitely puts the fear into the drivers and will behave? Good going Bangalore Police may you be empowered further :-)

Also noticed that all pedestrian crossings were guarded with traffic constables who would signal the oncoming traffic to slow down when pedestrians were crossing. This was yesterday evening, what about this morning... No interceptors and we find speeding taxis. The cops were still guarding the pedestrian crossing in fact I was very happy to note that some school children were being assisted at the village limits to cross the road. Despite all this here is some pictures of Traffic on NH7

Yet another accident to report, this morning opposite L&T where a rag picker was knocked down (alive but bleeding profusely). I found the worst offenders to be the SUVs It appears the drivers of SUVs have the least consideration/manners/respect for any other road users let alone the pedestrians. Most Common things SUVs are seen to do

  • Overtake from Left.
  • Honk unnecessarily.
  • Overtake without sufficient gap.
  • Zig-Zag across lanes.

(Please if you know any SUV owner ... point them to this page :-))

Fixes: - Bangalore Traffic Police must put up some permanent 24/7 speed monitoring system to track, fine offenders on the spot. - Boards on the median warning Drivers of stray cattle / dogs and humans - Boards indicating Next Police station and the Phone no of the station. - And Oh! Street Lights please??

-- PhotoYogi

Comments

idontspam's picture

Lights on NH7 overdue

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The lights on NH7 are overdue. I dont know whats keeping them?

 BTW, What is the speed limit on NH7? Or on any highway, Anybody knows?

Naveen N's picture

The Volvos are no

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The Volvos are no better...I've used the NH-7 four times now and I've seen Volvos cutting lanes at no less than 120 kms/hr speed and maintaining hardly 15 feet of space with the vehicle in front. They regularly overtake from the left at high speeds and brake suddenly. All categories of drivers on the road are to be blamed - drivers of Volvos, SUVs and sedans, airport cabs.

We urgently need the following:

a) Pedestrian overpasses at all residential/commercial areas along the route from Windsor Manor to the Trumpet Interchange

b) Street lights (have seen the poles without the bulbs)

c) High fines (above 1k) for rash driving backed by a 24/7 patrolling team along the route

d) Strict enforcement of lane driving and lane segregation by the patrols

e) Better signage - traffic warnings, distances, emergency helpline numbers etc 

s_yajaman's picture

Consistency is what is needed

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I am happy that the police have done something at last both on speeding and for pedestrian safety. Long overdue.  At the risk of offending SUV drivers, I am inclined to agree with PY. 

The police need to do this for 1 month.  After that just post signboards every 2-3 km saying "speed camera" prominently.  It will work wonders.  After that do the speed checks every 3 days. 

The other thing they can do is to make the offending driver get off, walk up 1 km (cross the road if possible) and pay the fine and walk back.  That will teach them to try and save 5 minutes by speeding.

Srivathsa

 

Drive safe.  It is not just the car maker which can recall its product.

idontspam's picture

80KMPH

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There was an ad in deccan herald today by BCP advising people to stick to 80kmph on NH7 to airport. Finally we know and what a way to find out. So next time somebody is travelling on NH7 and dont know the speed limit stop the car and log on to Praja cos you wont be told this anywhere else, unless you happen to keep a copy of todays newspaper pasted on your windshield.

tsubba's picture

rofl!

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@ids on speed limits. i guess bcp has to man what is really NHAI's baby. NHAI has to foot bills for signs i guess. so bcp prolly took the ad out. anyhow, what are reasonable options for ped xings on the highway. skywalks useless and unfair on peds. howabout underpasses? how many dense ped xing areas on this road?
narayan82's picture

Boundary Markers

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While we build pedestrian over bridges, we also need ot wall the Highway with a 3 feet railing on the sides and in the centre. If a pedestrian is given an oppurtunity to cross under the bridge, majority of them will do so! For E.g the Bridge outside Bangalore Club on Residency road. Most of the highway is still walled/railed but the median too must be kept so. Can event plant some greenery beside them.
Narayan Gopalan
User Interaction Designer
Bangalore
rs's picture

NH-7

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Hi Well, there are several things I feel that the BBMP or Bangalore police can do to make NH-7 safer. 1. Make proper barriers: While they have put these fences in several places the job has not been done properly. This should go along with making pedestrian crossings at a regular interval. 2. Make the fence in along the middle road divider: This is because people can climb over the fence at the sides of the road without any fear but in the middle they will hesitate. 3. Make Pedestrian underpasses: Clearly psychologically people are willing to walk down and then walk up but not the other way around. Nowhere are the overpasses used ( think of Kengeri, Bidadi, C.V. Raman Road... ). Of course this should have been planned in the beginning when the road was being made.... 4. Have clearly defined, well lit pedestrian crossings at busy junctions like Kodigehalli and Bytarayanapura. 5. Make pedestrian crossings at Hebbal Flyover: Its ridiculous and absurd that they did not plan on this when they built the highway. 6. Make proper bus bays: Here the issue is that bus drivers dont stop at the edge of the road and so there is space on either side for a vehicle to go and occasional crush a person crossing the road on the side. Our fellow drivers - do not posses the foresight to realize that if a person has stopped or slowed down in the middle of the road its because there is an obstruction and not because he is an idiot who is going slow just to harass you. This seems to be a problem more so with 2-wheelers though that may be just simply because the cars dont have a choice. So they express their lack of foresight by honking incessantly. I think basically most planning caters to the upper middle class and the rich - nobody really cares if the poor are periodically killed because it appears that their lives are not worth much.
christopher's picture

Enforcement is the key

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I ahve always believed enforcement is the key for decrease in number of traffic violations. This should be a cooperative effort from the Traffic Police and the RTO.

Defining the speed limit is one thing and enforcing it is another. NHAI should put up signs along the NH7 stressing the speed limit. Otherwise, the speeding offenders have a right question the traffic police given the fact that there are no signs on the highway. If the signs are put and enforcement done, then they can be caught without any question.

I have a question. Whose duty is to check whether trucks are overloaded? This is very important, because we see sooo many trucks on the highway struggling to pull their load. Because of their overloading and precarious balance, they travel either on the middle lane or the fast lane and people are forced to overtake from the left. It is very important to note that NO OVERTAKING FROM LEFT rule goes along with SLOWER TRAFFIC USE THE LEFT LANES. These overloaded trucks use the faster lanes. Atleast they should keep up with the imposed speed + or - 10 kmph.

 

Rithesh's picture

A few points from NH-4

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NH-4 is much better planned in many ways. All along NH-4 there are barriers on both sides of the road – along the entire stretch to prevent animals and people from crossing over randomly. They should have done something like this for NH-7 too. Care has been taken to construct underpasses (for pedestrian traffic, as well as vehicular traffic – bullock carts included) at almost all populated areas – even at small villages. When they could plan this on NH4, I don’t understand what stopped them from doing the same on NH7.

Also in densely populated areas (towns) the elevation of the roads has been substantially raised with pedestrian and vehicle underpasses to avoid people from straying on to the highway.

silkboard's picture

scary road, must push for enforcement

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I only had my hopelessly slow phone camera or else I would have captured some really shocking pictures. Was on NH7 on Monday morning (cab), and then Tuesday evening (Volvo BIAS - 6).

  • Saw pedestrians running across, an Innova barely missed a women. (see picture), of them waiting to run across.
  • A guy with cycle raced across, this was late evening, and our Volvo bus could almost have brushing him, thanks the driver was alert. to be fair, it wasn't his fault, he was under 80 at this spot, it was just too dark for him to see the cycle coming.
  • A motorbike was driving slow on the right most lane. Cab tried to overtake another slower cab, didn't realize the slow vehicle was already there, so yet another hard brake.
Its pretty scary, we all must keep calling in and complaining to police and NHAI.

The cab driver behaved once I threatened to abandon him. He was trying to make his Indica fly. We must make our cab drivers behave. Unless you have pre-paid this works well.

The Volvo's definitely drive like crazy. The busses are so easy to drive (good pick up, brakes, power steering), They really zig zag from right to leftmost lanes. The bus was crowded, I couldn't get to confront the driver while he was at it. I tried doing that later when getting down, he said don't worry, nothing will happen.

Some photos.

Pedestrians waiting to cross. One near a zebra cross, another one at a random spot. Whats the point of zebra cross when no vehicle slows down? Waste of white paint I say. And that women there just ran on to the media, and is now waiting for the right moment to cross to the other side.



Crazy BMTC Volvo trying to squeeze between a Santro and a slow KSRTC bus, trying to vertake the slow moving bus from the left.


idontspam's picture

Whose speed limit is it anyway?

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Looks like speed limit on the highway is a state subject, does this mean BBMP is responsible for putting up the speed limit signboards?

Under the Motor Vehicles Act, the maximum highway speed for two-wheelers is 50 km and it is 65 km for buses and trucks. As for cars, different states have varying speed limits.

blrsri's picture

why speed?

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was thinking why do SUV's speed the way they are mentioned above..

SUV's (Scorpio's, Safaris', Sumo's, Qualis, Tavera's, Explorer etc) are expensive powerful vahicles..50% of the time they are driven by drivers and rarely self driven!

When driven by drivers, its a matter of 'master, I will take you to airport on time every time in the shortest time'

..this instead should be 'safe stress free drive'!

tsubba's picture

SUVs

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hmm... it is a size thing. they give a greater sense of security. the sad part is, they have a impact zone way higher than the safety bars(if any) on all mid/small sized cars. so like the proverbial knife, whether you hit the knife or the knife hits you, you are gong to get hurt. this way too well known for anybodies comfort. i have seen it way too often for this to be an outlier. in exteremely dangerous rain and snow conditions, i have seen SUVs do crazy stuff, when rest of the traffic is literally driving with their hearts in their mouths. traffic works best when everybody follows the average behaviour. to add to this mess, there are now these hormonal women, wearing make up when not talking on fone, sometimes doing both. dont get me wrong, i pray at the altar of virginia wolfe but somethings dont mix. driving on the road is a responsibility.
narayan82's picture

Buslane Must!

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from hebbal Flyover to BIAL a dedicated bus lane must be created. There is the space. and it can be demarcated with a very low median. then there won't be any "cutting" or moving around on the road! I wondr what the fine for Speeding on NH7 is? any ideaS? I would imagine that on per with other offences it should be Rs 300 > 500. This in my view is not enough. People will pay up and still remain as uneducated as they are. We have to track offenders, give them 2 warnings, then a hefty fine and then cancel the license/send them back to driving school. Just fining a measly fine isn't enough - we have to follow it up and catch repeat offenders! what happened to those fancy Blackberrys? I hope they start using it soon!
Narayan Gopalan
User Interaction Designer
Bangalore
blrsri's picture

about volvo in the pic

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small correction..that bus other than the volvo is a APSRTC one..which wont and cant go fast, inturn will not violate speed limits..

Volvos on the other hand are really fast..

One observation is that outside state busses usually drive safe when not in home teritory..only exception is with KSRTC..they are superfast everywhere!

ssheragu's picture

principles of road construction

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a lot has said been about NH7 & compared with NH4

to be frank I have not travelled on NH7 ; but here are a few tips for any higway construction or road construction

1.     there should be proper barrciades on either side to prevent pedestrians or cattle from straying on to the roads

2.     the roads should be elevated to allow for ground level pedstrian underpasses and vehicle underpasses

3.     the roads should be elevated so that during rainy seasons the rain water does not collect on the roads but flows to the sides

4.     the road should be cemented & totally signal free

5.     construction engineers can see the Mumbai - Pune expressway and other standard expressways & learn and implement

  

 Srinath Heragu

idontspam's picture

Trying to answer my own

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Trying to answer my own question I stumbled upon this Notification today

...Meanwhile, the Government has directed BBMP to shoulder the responsibility of routine maintenance of a stretch of NH-7 - between Hebbal and BIA. The task includes cleaning, clearing of debris and others. BBMP, however, will not do the civil maintenance of the national highway. NH-7 is owned by the Centre’s National Highway Authority of India, sources said.

Now does putting up speedlimit signboards fall under the others category or the civil maintenance category?

narayan82's picture

An Ad from today's Hindu to

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An Ad from today's Hindu to promote Safety on NH7.

Still - I feel the speed limit isnt visible enough in the Ad itself!

Ad from Hindu

Narayan Gopalan
User Interaction Designer
Bangalore
idontspam's picture

Is this enough?

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It is a comendable effort to put out an ad educating people. I am sure it has reached out to most people since it has also come out in DH and TOI last week apart from the hindu. But is this the right way? What is the speed limit on Bellary road for example? What is the speed limit on ORR? Are they now going to bring out an ad for every road? Are people in other states who drive into Bangalore expected to see this ad? What if people missed reading newspaper or not noticed this ad or were travelling outstation during this ad? Does speed limit apply only after we cross hebbal interchange and before that is it anarcy? What if i mention I did not read this ad when I get penalized? You cant make enforcements like this! this is only awareness drives without legal validity. I can challenge the challan/ticket If I am caught.

 

blrpraj's picture

antiquated design standards

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This is due to antiquated design standards, nobody would place a pedestrian crossing on a high speed highway. The national design standards for roadways must be upgraded and the process has started - http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/News/Economy/Infrastructure/Bids_invited_for_consultancy_on_expressways_master_plan/articleshow/3160971.cms

In the short term, well, foot overbridges can be provided perhaps. In the long term it needs to be converted to a grade separated controlled access expressway as many have pointed out. Hopefully the national design standards will solve the problem.

Photoyogi's picture

Speed Limit on NH7

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Hi Narayan, I fully agree with you, the Ad does not convey the message about the speed limit being 80 KMPH on NH7. Infact Srivathsa had made a valid point saying there should be more boards saying hidden speed check cameras ahead Max Speed 80KM/hr spot fine 1000/- every 2-3 KM. Instead of this we have AirTel sign boards every 100 meters on both sides of the Road. If only 1 in 10 boards carried this message without the Airtel Ad would we not be happier? Sorry bout jumping to conclusions about cops manning the pedestrian crossing sadly enough i did not see them when i used the road yesterday around 4 PM. Here again, we see that there has been a good call taken and some one up the chain of command and has issued an order, I want to ask why its not being followed up? NH7 (Hebbal-Chikkajala)has a number of schools on along the road i can remember seein atleast 3 schools that are off the highway. Why are we waiting for more innocent deaths? Bangalore Traffic Police / BBMP / NHAI Do some thing! -- Praveen Sundaram AkA PhotoYogi

-- PhotoYogi

blrpraj's picture

re: is this enough?

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Hi idontspam,

The direct answer to you question of "is it enough?" is a definite NO. These ads are not even required. 

But if they are still published then the awareness ads should be generic ads to urge people to follow traffic laws and should be run for a few weeks. These ads should never be on  a per road nor a per rule basis. If we start having ads per rule or per road basis it would be ridiculous. By going through a licensing process and getting a license, by default (at least on paper and technically speaking) we have agreed to abide by the laws and agreed that we know and understand the laws. The ads actually need to be considered as a courtesy to the public awakening us & the law enforcement agencies from a 60plus year slumber and informing us that there is something called "traffic laws" and violation could lead to serious consequences. How many of us really know the Indian traffic laws? - http://morth.nic.in/index3.asp?langid=2&sublink2id=286. Not driving on footpaths is of course commonsense but for those without that - http://morth.nic.in/writereaddata/sublink2images/rrr11_2402878683332.pdf; but why do we see that happening? Because there is a mob mentality and hordes of people are in a hurry and nobody cares.

Motorists should start being ticketed immediately irrespective of ads being there or not. The excuse of not knowing the law (let alone not reading an ad) doen't fly in any decent court. Any sensible judge is going to throw that argument out the window so I don't think there is anything to worry :-). If somebody succesfully challenges the court with the "not reading the ad" excuse then I would say it is time to sack the judge. What could be challenged though is if where was no speed limit sign on a particular highway and you got a speeding ticket. So, adequate signage needs to be provided.

I have discussed in length the excuse based psychology observed by me which I think you may have already read but i am posting for other's who haven't -

http://www.praja.in/pune/discuss/2008/07/traffic-chaos-and-reforms-analysis-and-way-forward#comment-6302
http://www.praja.in/pune/discuss/2008/07/traffic-chaos-and-reforms-analysis-and-way-forward#comment-6268

Some solutions to start on a small scale and expand to other major arteries (of course these have to be mofidied for national highways but the litmus test here is whether we can build infrastructure as per standards consistenly and enforce rules)-

http://www.praja.in/pune/discuss/2008/07/traffic-chaos-and-reforms-analysis-and-way-forward#comment-6327

In this post I have some very specific suggestions for taming the commercial vehicle operators (taxis, trucks etc) -

http://www.praja.in/discuss/2008/06/meanwhile-nh7-turns-a-death-trap#comment-6056

One may immediatly question - hey these are complex non implementable solutions and we need a short term fix NOW on NH7. I do not want to be in denial, there is no short term solution and we have slid to an abysmal point where we have to put in the money and start doing things right the first time sector by sector. Urban planning and zoning enforcement are a vital must and a central part of the solution. Otherwise we will be treating the symptoms of an epedemic but not attacking the root causes.

s_yajaman's picture

Another bad accident this morning on NH-7

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Posting this comment from BIAL while waiting to board my flight to Delhi.  Left home at about 5:15.  At about 6:00 came across a fresh accident.  Meru has smahed into an LCV trying to cross the highway.  This was just after Chikajala police station.  Lots of cabs had gathered around.

Before that I saw an Easy Cab with its bonnet smashed parked near Yelahanka.

The rate at which these cabs are getting smashed, I wonder if Meru and Easy will have any cabs left in about 6 months time.  Is there any way Praja can take this up with their management.  They seem to have let loose killers on the road.  Even today I saw these cabs speeding and weaving in and out of traffic. 

Sorry Murali-sir, it just goes to show that private is not a cure all for all our illnesses. 

There are now speed limit signs posted on the median.  80/60/30 for each lane.  Apparently there are 3 police vans with speed guns along the way ticketing people.  However the lack of lighting at night means that one cannot see a truck making its way across the road.  At 100kmph, there is no way to stop in time.

Srivathsa

 

Drive safe.  It is not just the car maker which can recall its product.

blrpraj's picture

re: Another bad accident this morning on NH-7

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I hope everybody got out of the cab in time. Was the cab very badly damaged? About your observation "They seem to have let loose killers on the road.  " I think killer cabs have been there long before Meru cabs started plying on NH-7. My trip from HAL airport to home on May 4th was nothing short of hell in the prepaid taxi we took. He was doing 65kmph on those badly lit, bad surface roads. Broke through 3 red lights, narrowly missed road dividers & taking high speed turns the same driver was laughing when I asked him to slow down because he very well knew he could get away with it. I guess he was in a hurry to return to the airport for another trip. Like I mentioned in http://praja.in/bangalore/blog/photoyogi/2008/07/03/how-make-nh7-safer#comment-6374 we would be treating just the symptoms of a larger disease if we just take this up with their management. I am not saying we should not, but let's say after a lot of complaints they lose their license; some other cab company will come and the same story will carry on. We do not have a system in place to track violating drivers and suspend their licencse on a 3rd or 4th offence. I have seen other cab drivers (especially qualis) drive like maniacs and go through red lights. Nothing short of making commercial operators check driving records of drivers before hiring them and tying their (companie's) insurance to driver's driving records will solve this problem and make drivers and commercial operators accountable and responsible.

Also, how can a national highway with 100kmps speed limit be designed with uncontrolled access to pedestrians and vehicular traffic? That beats me and is outright bad road engineering with a major disaster in the making. Thankfully this wasn't a situation where the LCV/Meru Cab hitting an oil tanker..I wouldn't even want to imagine the consequences.

If you ask me the difference between 100kmph or 65kmph in an accident is the difference between being hit by a freight train or just the locomotive :-) both cases it is bad scene :-).

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