Sunday, July 11, 2010

Jaywalking on the rise in Delhi

First of all, I wanna say one thing that “If you know how to break a rule then you must know how not to break it too”. You all must have seen somewhere on the road, people usually cross the road at random locations other than a cross walk or cross the road when a traffic signal tells not to cross, this is commonly called “Jaywalking”. It’s unacceptable and pedestrians are supposed to cross the road/street/highway at the area which is designated for them but some pedestrian still prefer jaywalking, cross wherever they want and whenever they decide. The questions which are popped up in my mind that “Are they fool or too lazy to walk to the nearest crosswalk or don’t care what rules say and not even think of their life?” As it looks so stupid that you are driving and someone can see you driving towards him/her but still start crossing the road, that is really unacceptable. And with such attitude of pedestrians, driving is becoming difficult for motorists.

What they think? Jaywalking isn’t dangerous? Ofcourse it is, because motorists don’t expect jaywalkers to be crossing the road in the middle of the block. Jaywalking is putting pedestrians and motorists equally in danger. Jaywalking is not a criminal offense whereas hitting someone with your car/bike is.

In metro cities like Delhi where pedestrian traffic at it’s peak, jaywalking is commonly being seen everywhere as it appears to save time for you. But believe me it actually don't. And it looks, instead of car being a danger to pedestrians; pedestrians are now dangers to cars. Although DTP (Delhi Traffic Police) has enforced a rule under the section 28 of the Delhi Police Act, against all jaywalkers by which they will have to pay a fine from Rs. 20 to 100, still more than 900 pedestrians a year fail to make it to the others side and killed by the city drivers (as per DTP record). Delhi traffic police took up the “safe pedestrian week” drives twice in since last August. But have we learn something out of it? I seriously doubt. How many times we see the whole group of people jumping on the road in front of you when you are crossing a signal especially when you signal is green. I read somewhere that in UK it’s legal to cross all the roads except motorways, While there also it is suggested to “cross using a subway, a footbridge, an island, a zebra, pelican, toucan or puffin crossing, or where there is a crossing point controlled by a police officer, a school crossing patrol or a traffic warden”. In other countries like USA, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and others, jaywalking is commonly considered as infringing and the penalty is usually a fine and in Singapore the maximum penalty is 3 months in jail. Large hoardings are used with “Caution No Jay Walking USE CROSSWALK” symbol to educate the pedestrians.

Well there is a system called “Traffic lights”. These help pedestrians and motorists to let them know when and who has the right of the way. If any pedestrian fall down while on crosswalk, people would be there looking for them but if they do it while jaywalking, It would be difficult for a motorists to avoid an accident. Thus we as pedestrians also need to understand to respect motorist's right to use the road. People should use subways and foot over bridges. Always use the Zebra crossing at the signals/crosswalk. I my opinion the Authorities should take Pedestrian education drives more often. As much as I hate to say but section 28 of Delhi Police Act (against jaywalkers) needs to be enforced strictly for habitual violators.


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Rajeev Lochan Sharma