ROAD SAFETY BIKE RIDERS ARE INVOLVED IN 58PC OF FATAL ROAD ACCIDENTS

AMANULLAH BASHAR
(feedback@pgeconomist.com)
June 7 - 13, 20
10

The road safety is becoming critical more and more with the ever increasing number of vehicles in the urban centers of the country particularly in Karachi where abnormal rise in number of vehicles calls for immediate focus on road management to avoid risk of fatal accidents.

It is unfortunate to see that the pedestrians are the main victims of the road accidents primarily due to lack of road management and rampant road corruption as the entire focus of the so-called traffic police standing on the roadsides is on money extortion rather than providing guidelines to the road users to prevent fatal road accidents.

Besides increasing number of road accidents Karachi is confronted with infinite health risks such as polluted environment by smoke emitting totally unfit vehicles, which face no problem in getting fitness certificates by pleasing the authorities responsible for a check on unfit vehicles. Motor cycles, auto rickshaws and even mini buses find it free for all to inflict the environment with noise pollution through indiscriminate use of horns, noisy silencers and cassette players. These violators have no idea about equitable sharing of pollution free environment due to ignorance and lack of awareness. At least various services of FM radios can contribute significantly for creating awareness about the dangers of polluted environment for human health.

According to a medical survey the unwary people in the urban areas are suffering from various fatal diseases like asthma, respiratory and other chest and cardiac problems and even skin cancer consequently threatening to human life as the death toll is on the rise as well as causing abnormal mental health of the people. The traffic police seem least bothered about the vehicles emitting thick smoke all around.

The rising number of vehicles not only consumes the costly fuel which adds to the burden of oil imports on fragile economy but is also a major source of corruption in the society.

In order to contain and curtail fuel consumption, road accidents and rising pollution most of the economies have gone for mass transit systems which in fact are an amicable solution to above stated road problems besides eliminating the element of corruption.

In Pakistan there were talks about introducing mass transit systems in major cities but these talks were never transformed into reality. Consequently, the majority of the population has no option but to commute in overcrowded buses and some times on the roof top of the buses. The concept of a respectable traveling is a distant dream.

ROLE OF INDUS MOTORS

As a responsible corporate citizen, the Indus Motors has done a commendable job by organising National Road Safety Programs to create awareness among the people as well as the government quarters about the seriousness of the road safety concept.

In order too evaluate the nature, location and magnitude of traffic injuries in Karachi Indus motor conducted surveys of major hospitals selected for 24 x 7 data collection: Aga Khan Hospital, Jinnah Hospital, Liaquat National Hospital, Civil Hospital, and Abbasi Shaheed Hospital.

The Survey identified 21 Black Spots in the city where the road accidents involved: motorcycles 58 per cent; HTVs 16 per cent; and cars 12 per cent; buses 7 per cent.

National Road Safety Conference organised by Indus Motors was held in joint collaboration with Shell Pakistan, in partnering with AKUH, SEF, RTIRC.

The Theme of the Conference was "Most Vulnerable Road User Group" i.e. Motorcycle Rider and Pillion Rider". This conference and survey was conducted last year however serious note was taken by the authorities or the relevant quarters to take preventive measures to secure human life. It was identified that the most vulnerable road users were bike riders; hence there is an immediate need for strict allocation of a specific road lane for motorcycle riders in the interest of their own life and other road users.

At present, motorcycle riders are allowed to move all over the roads in fact the roads are swarmed by the unruly bike riders. At least their movement should be allowed only within a lane specifically allocated for bike riders.

RECOMMENDATIONS

Traffic control devices or roundabouts should be provided on Manzil Pump Intersection, Bhains Mor Intersection, PQA Intersection, Steel Town Mor, and Hadeed Mor Intersection.

Illegally created cuts should be eliminated and U-turns be set up at appropriate locations.

Service lanes should be increased so that vehicles emanating from side roads, especially heavy vehicles cannot directly approach the Highway.

Pedestrian crossings should be established to stop pedestrians, vendor push carts, donkey carts, etc. from coming on the highway. Similarly, periodic maintenance and regular police monitoring of the highway are required.