Friday, December 02, 2005

Roads, death traps

A few days back, I happened to be travelling along the road to Bangalores proposed international airport. I had travelled this road about two years back befor this. The road works were under execution at that time. The road was riddled with diversions, twists, turns and difference in levels. Well, work was going on.

From then to this time (no, dont expect anything), the roads had not changed. There has barely been any movement in construction of the road. Diversions are surprising (like playing road runner on a video game console). There are times when you ride in the direction opposite to traffic and there are times when oncoming traffic is forced in your lane. Nobody knows which side of the road one must be at any given point on the road except on some strecthes.

Result? Accidents. A biker travelling towards the city was crushed under a truck coming from the city in the opposite direction of traffic. Sure the trucker was arrested (because he escaped alive), but I am pretty sure, it was less a mistake of either motorist, than it was an accident caused because of the way the road is.

If thats the state of a so called superhighway in the making, on internal roads pothole (stones, puddles, mud, tyres, garbage) appearances are so sudden that they would classify as expert in gaming levels, only here people could pay with their lives. There is gravel all along the sides of many roads making it a death trap for motorists, especially bikers, who have therefore to ride through the faster traffic on the right.

Roads are essential for development, but good roads save lives. Not just the life of the jaywalker but also the drivers on the roads themselves. Roads arent about the rich travelling and the poor jaywalking. Roads are needed by everybody. Sadly, our roads are less about good infrastructure and more about improving roads atleast to the extent that lives arent lost needlessly on our roads.

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