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Sorry plight of two-wheeler riders

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According to the Road Accident Report (2014) published by the road transport and highways ministry , while 4,726 lives were lost in crashes due to humps, 6,672 people died in accidents caused due to potholes and speed breakers. Sources said the actual figure could be higher since the data was not properly captured by local police while registering accidents and in many cases these are recorded as any other road crash.

- - - While poor maintenance by road-owning agencies is the main reason behind potholes contributing to crashes, experts said there was lack of uniformity and no standard design for speed breakers on most roads.

Director of Indian Academy of Highway Engineers and former director general (roads) V L Patankar said most speed breakers on internal roads were “hugely dangerous“. “None follow design, curvature and location when constructing speed breakers. In most cases, locals put up speed breakers. These are more dangerous for twowheeler riders and passengers in three-wheelers, who are hardly protected,“ he said.

For the full text of the report in the ToI, click here.

While UP tops the list, Karnataka too figures quite prominently in the list of states with high fatality record. The matter has come up for discussion, in Praja, earlier too (check here).

Now, even as I finished reading that report, I came across this one, again in the ToI (click here to read the full text):

A 26-year-old software engineer, who was headed to Nandi Hills with his colleague to see sunrise, died when their Royal Enfield bike skidded off the road at Devanahalli in north-east Bengaluru on Saturday .

Dileep Singh, an employee with Huwai Technologies in Whitefield, was riding pillion.He died on the way to nearby hospital. Himanshu suffered minor injuries. Both are natives of Madhya Pradesh and residents of Teacher's Colony in Koramangala.

Police arrested Himanshu, who is working with Amadeus Software in Kadubeesanahalli, under section 304 of IPC (culpable homicide not amounting to murder).The court remanded him to 14 days of judicial custody. Police said Himanshu failed to notice the speed-breaker near the junction and the vehicle skidded off the road.

Very clearly, the accident resulted out of the poor marking of the speed-breaker (I went over an unmarked speed-breaker in a poorly lit road stretch in Koramangala, a few weeks back, and my 'Alto' had to be taken to the garage to fix the exhaust next day. Had I been on a bike - pillion, I mean - I am sure, I would have been laid up with broken back). As such, where is the need to heap more insult on the already traumatised yougster by charging him under Sec 304, and remanding him to judicial custody for 14 days? On top of it all, is going to be the tortuous judicial process, which, even for a local person is a nightmare, and for a non-local, total hell.

Shouldn't the police higher ups take note, and intervene to help out the boy?

The tragic part, in all of these, is the fact that it is largely the youth, in their prime, who are the victims of these two-wheeler mishaps, resulting out of the poor road infrastructure. As such, apart from the loss to the families, the country's demographic asset gets depleted too.

Muralidhar Rao


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Devanahalli police said the drunk duo was headed to Nandi Hills. Himanshu was charged under Section 304 of IPC.

The above are the excerpts from what has been reported as a 'clarification' in ToI (full text may be accessed here).

One would like to believe what the police have alleged, and that's why the survivor has been charged under Sec 304. Whatever, seems a bit too harsh! Most unfortunate.

Muralidhar Rao
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Police insensitivity

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The Bengaluru traffic police have filed a case of causing death by negligence against software engineer Om Prakash for the death of his wife, also a techie, in a pothole accident.

- - - Chandradar S R, police inspector of Airport Traffic police station, said that they had taken action against Om Prakash based on the postmortem report and preliminary investigation.

The inspector claimed that the pothole was too small to cause an accident. He blamed the husband for the mishap and said he could have avoided it if he was not overspeeding.

For the full text of the report in the New Indian Express, click here.

It is most shocking that instead of booking the BDA/ BBMP officials, for the poor condition of the road, leading to the fatality, the police should be framing such ridiculous charges against the husband, even as he is suffering from the trauma caused by the personal loss. The whole episode very clearly brings out the overall insensitivity of the police, in handling such situations, leading to their general alienation from the public.

Such an approach is what made me comment "one would like to believe what the police have alleged" about the charge of drunkenness framed on the bike rider (check my post of 15th Sept, scrolling above).

Their entire training programmes of the officers, in fact everything about the force, is in urgent need of review, which is what commissions after commissions have been recommending from long, but, about which, Karnataka government has apparently done very little (check here).

Well, should we say this is but another facet of the overall poor performance record of the government?

Muralidhar Rao
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better sense prevails

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Administrators on Monday regretted booking the husband of a woman who was killed after their two-wheeler struck a pothole, for rash and negligent driving, even as legal activists trashed police defence that they were helpless and had no go as he was the rider.

- - - "If police can book builders for a wall collapse on charges of negligence, even civic authorities can be booked. In a court of law, an argument that the act of not maintaining the road amounts to negligence and comes under provisions of section 304A (death caused by negligence), would hold water. The section says 'Whoever causes the death of any person by doing any rash or negligent act not amounting to culpable homicide ...', and not maintaining the road is an act of negligence," said GR Mohan, an advocate who has filed several cases on civic is sues.

- - - G Kumar Naik, BBMP commissioner, said, "He (Megharikh) has also accepted that the husband is not to be blamed, but he should have been cautious if there are pot holes. Maintaining roads is the responsibility of the BBMP . If roads have been designed for certain speed limits, it is the right of the commuter to drive at that speed, neither slower nor faster than the upper limit. We cannot restrict drivers to reduce their speed because of potholes. It is a question of maintenance and engineers and contractors are responsible for the upkeep of roads."

- - - Bengaluru traffic police on Monday issued notices to BBMP and BDA officials, who were part of the construction and maintenance of the Devarabeenahalli flyover, where Stuti Pandey was killed.

- - - However, till Monday evening, no questioning had happened. Sources in the traffic police department said chances of criminal prosecution stands little chance. "It's tough to bring criminal culpability on an officer for not doing a job. There is no provision in the law for that. All that could happen in such cases is departmental action," sources added.

For the full text of the report in the ToI, click here.

Well, better sense seems to have prevailed eventually, with the Police Commissioner going on to "accept that the husband is not to be blamed". In which case, is he contemplating some action against the Inspector who booked the case against the husband, or at least calling all of them and counselling them to be more sensitive in their handling of such cases? One hopes so.

Also, quite like Mr G R Mohan has pointed out "if police can book builders for a wall collapse on charges of negligence, even civic authorities can be booked". Let the  police do its job, and leave it to the court to give its verdict.

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