We just love to break the rules, don’t we?

Posted: September 8, 2009 in Pune, Pune Traffic Police, traffic rules

Lokmanya Tilak might have uttered the famous words “Swaraj is my birthright,” but people in our country have taken that one step further. They break the law and think it’s their right!

I’ve been reading with interest all the reports and articles on the new traffic plan that the Pune Police has implemented to ease congestion on the roads. “Don’t have a left turn here… don’t allow right turn there… don’t have a bus stop here…don’t have road dividers here…” we can read it all in the newspapers. Columns, opinions, letters, reports – you name it, they are all there. Everyone who is someone in the city is voicing his or her opinion on the issue and where else can they do it but in the ever willing media. So here is my two cents worth…

Everywhere in the world there are traffic laws and everywhere people follow them diligently – except in our country. Drive on any road anywhere in the country and you will see how vehicle owners use the roads, and Pune is no exception.

I might be painting myself in a corner here, but I think apart from Delhi, Pune has the most number of uneducated (in terms of traffic rules), and ill-mannered vehicle owners. That is not to say that everyone who owns a vehicle is a lout, but they will soon be a helpless and powerless minority. There are a burgeoning number of vehicle owners in Pune who believe that they can get away with anything – even causing mayhem– on the roads.

Everyone who’s been complaining about the problem with the new traffic diversions in Pune and blaming the Traffic Police for it should realise that the problem lies elsewhere – with us, our skewed driving sense, and our blatant disregard for the law.

Stop at any traffic intersection and what do you see? Vehicles parked over the pedestrian crossing instead of behind it, and worse making an additional two lanes right in the way of oncoming traffic. Actually these idiots do it with pride. Garv se kaho hum idiot hain!

The Traffic Police can also solve the problem in a few weeks. They forced people to put on their seat belts didn’t they, so what stops them for enforcing the law now? If we observed lane discipline, more than more half the traffic problems in this city will cease to exist. Peak-hour traffic may be slow but at least there will be order.

Yes, yes, I know what some of my friends will say – too many vehicles on the road, stop the Nano, etc etc. Even if we halve the traffic in this city, these problems will still not go away. And we know why… We may or may not be able to do something about the ever increasing number of vehicles in the city. But we can surely do something to reduce the chaos that unfolds on the roads every day.

I was in Pune’s Deccan Gymkhana a few days back in the midst of chaos. As I sat in my car waiting for things to return to normal, I realised it was no use blaming only the police. I saw a private bus which was on the extreme left coolly cut across to the right, almost hitting a car and holding up traffic. I also saw a two-wheeler rider scrape past a car from the left unconcerned that he had damaged another vehicle. So many vehicle owners are not even aware that overtaking from the left is an offence!

See how people have refused to accept the crash-helmet rule. I’ve heard some really bizarre excuses from those who want to avoid wearing helmets – can’t hear the traffic noise; spoils the hair; perspire too much; whistling sound in the ears; safety clip chokes us; and the list is endless. That it can save your life doesn’t outweigh all those cockeyed excuses.

I once saw an accident near RSI where an ST bus knocked down a girl who was overtaking from the left. It was clearly the girl’s fault, but the bystanders roughed up the bus driver. Like always ‘well-wishers’’ crawled out from somewhere to execute summary justice on behalf of the accident victim. Someone should have slapped the girl really hard for deliberately breaking a traffic rule, endangering her life and creating a nuisance on a public road.

So let’s stop blaming the Traffic Police in any city. They have a difficult job on their hands and we don’t make it any easier.

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Comments
  1. Vineeta says:

    You have pinpointed the root problem of traffic congestion in our cities: patent inconsideration and selfish stupidity of our vehicle owners.

  2. Daniel Fernandes says:

    Sir, I totally agree with you with regards to the utter lack of road sense here in Pune. Just today whilst I was riding in Pashan a lady with 2 young children was crossing the road and instead of keeping an eye on the oncoming traffic (which I was part of)she calmly kept her gaze in the opposite direction oblivious to the danger she put her children in. I wonder what it will take for people to follow protocol around here. At times like this fmr President Kalam's words ring aloud in my ears – "We will obediently follow rules when we travel to another country but for some reason cannot do the same in our own country". Sigh!

  3. Manoj says:

    Hei buddy, Here in the US its made very clear that driving is a previlege afforded and not a birth right. This previlege can be revoked at anytime a serious law is broken and fined if its a minor offence. (fines add up in $$$)

  4. Zubin says:

    We are all aspiring to be Formula One drivers !

  5. Kirti says:

    Frankly speaking, I find traffic in Pune much worse than Delhi. I lived in Delhi for 12 years since 1996 to 2008 and found the city much better. Though I have to confess that I lived and moved around in New Delhi more than Old Delhi side which is chaotic.My bit of observation for Pune is that unlike in Delhi, I guess we here oppose dividers on the roads too, apart from so many other things. Look at the Baner Road from Hotel Sadanand to University. It is such a wide road, but has no dividers. Why? Because people living on either side of the roads want to turn into their colony right at the sopt. In Delhi one is made to travel a bit and take a U turn and come on the other side.Again, I can't understand after errecting dividers on the busy Ganeshkhind road from Shimla Office to Pune University why is there cut at Pune Central. Because the respective denizens of Model colony want to take the turn? Just like the U turn under the flyover across E-Square, same could be done at the overbridge oppositive Agriculture College. My suggestion is pack up that cut at Pune Central. And think about doing same on many roads that are wide enough to support unique U turns so that traffic moves unhindered. Has anyone seen the kind of U turn created just after the AIIMS flyover in Delhi? We need such U turns at many places in Pune.

  6. Seema says:

    I am from Mumbai and I totally agree with you sir. People in Pune just do not know how to drive. The roads in Pune are so nice and broad with lesser potholes and wide pavements but its such a pity that people drive so carelessly. I only wish Mumbai had such roads.

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