The traffic socialists?

When I talked about the socialists (see Traffic clubs), this is the sort of thing I was referring to. Find this  small piece from TOI Bangalore, April 6, page 3:

A frenzied crowd in Chandapura, Bangalore Rural district, threw stones at buses and tried to torch a truck after a scooterist knocked down by the truck died on Thursday afternoon. … Police said the victim wrongly entered a one-way and lost balance. The truck, coming from the opposite direction, ran over Umesh.

Not to say that the truck in question was all innocent, after all I wasn’t there to witness it. And I sure have my sympathies for the deceased. But I have witnessed two such cases – bike doing wrong direction surprising truck/bus and getting knocked – thankfully both the accidents were non fatal. What I have seen is this – when the mob rules, “size” dictates who gets all the sympathy.

I thought this report was an example – if the “law” and “common sense” were to prevail, one life would have been saved and instead of “oh-these-truck-drivers”, “oh-these-law-breaking scooterists” would have been the lesson spreading around.

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17 Responses

  1. This is awful. I have always noticed that in an accident that involves a car and a scooter – everyone blames the car without even knowing the facts. And if the car is driven by a woman – case closed on the spot and verdict delivered!

  2. Very true Usha, all such episodes just revolve around one thing “jealousy”. Give a thought to it. Dont u fell people who dont own a car are becoming more and more jealous of car owners nowadays. And they are viewed as money making upper class people, rather than those who have earned money the hard way to buy a car. Also vice versa, many of the car owners behave as though they own the road and try to look down upon the cyclists and pedestrians by intimidating them on the road. I have also seen this kind of jealousy even among the literate class, especially if they happen to see a guy with a posh car (BMW, honda city) and putting on loud music, even though he might be following the rules. I think all these stories start from jealousy among the general public nothing else. I have been a victim of such things, especially when I put on a jeans and sunglasses while riding my YAMAHA bike. Only thing we as sensible persons can do is drive/ride even more cautiously, maybe at 20kph. I always do that after some nasty incidents. We cant change the public’s mentality, or can we?

  3. There is a certain “blaming” system that is followed.. I remember reading about a kid who got knocked down by a truck in front of Christ College a few months ago. Turns out that he jumped the road divider and ended up in front of the truck who got no time to react..

    I remember last year when I was hit from behind by a lorry at the intersection of Mysore road and the ring road.. Although a crowd gathered, I refused to get into any argument with the lorry driver telling him to wait till the police arrived (fortunately there was a traffic cop close by). By refusing to engage in any argument, I hopefully averted a situation…

    Most of the “mob” stuff usually gets started by people who are in no way involved in the accident and are looking for something to vent on…

  4. Lets not forget the role the govt. plays in these accidents. Its a great coincidence that I just finished writing a blog on something similar. Please do visit the blog at your convenience.

  5. Right Vijay – “mob” stuff gets started by jobless onlookers. Chances of mob stuff happening in CBD are lot less, reason? fewer onlookers. Outskirts, a lot higher.

    The thing is mobs can get away. Wonder if anyone ever gets punished for torching trucks and buses, or stoning cars.

    Usha, woman drivers create one more interesting situation. Whenever my wife drives, and she overtakes a male driven vehicle, his male ego makes him retake the lead by hook or by crook. Have you also noticed that!?

    IM, will read your post.

    Bangalorean, true. the best thing is to play safe. Drive slow and avoid these situations. Or else, put up Rajkumr Anna’s photo and Red-Gold flag on your vehicle. that may help ;)

  6. Just read IM’s post… Heres a true life account…
    http://bangaloreblues.wordpress.com/2006/11/21/killers-at-the-wheel/

  7. Practically what vijay did was correct in those situations I believe. Mostly its the agents of the insurance companies who need to do the talking and politely the drivers need to exchange address/contact numbers and move along.

  8. I think if one mines the data auto insurance companies have, one might discover that a lot of accidents happen because of government related apathy. Lax licensing system, poorly planned infrastructure and so on. No?

  9. Agree 100% IM. Infrastructure, bad roads etc might be blamed on lack of resources, but there is no excuse for things like pay Rs 300 to a clerk and get a license, or not enforcing whatever rules and props exist.

  10. On the 31st of March 2007 i was heading towards jayanagar telephone exchange.I was crossing the nanda theater main road and i was almost crossed 90% of the road and i had the right of way.All of a sudden a biker came from south end circle at a speed of 70 kmph and hit my car and almost down under the car.The left indicator,bumper and the bonnet of my car completely got damaged.Immediately after that i could see more than 50-60 people surrounding us and started blaming me.After that i took the biker to the nearest nursing home and got him the first aid.
    After that the cops came did the mahjar and prepared the FIR.When i saw the FIR i really got shocked.They had mentioned that i did the mistake and i was driving rashly.Later he got shifted to another hospital and underwent a surgery.Last week i went to the court and paid a fine of Rs 2000/- for rash and negligent driving.And i had an arguement with the Sub Inspector & he said come what may you ar the culprit since you were driving the bigger vehicle.
    What kind of a law is this?

  11. On the 31st of March 2007 i was heading towards jayanagar telephone exchange.I was crossing the nanda theater main road and i had almost crossed 90% of the road and i had the right of way.All of a sudden a biker came from south end circle at a speed of 70 kmph and hit my car and almost down under the car.The left indicator,bumper and the bonnet of my car completely got damaged.Immediately after that i could see more than 50-60 people surrounding us and started blaming me.After that i took the biker to the nearest nursing home and got him the first aid.
    After that the cops came did the mahjar and prepared the FIR.When i saw the FIR i really got shocked.They had mentioned that i did the mistake and i was driving rashly.Later he got shifted to another hospital and underwent a surgery.Last week i went to the court and paid a fine of Rs 2000/- for rash and negligent driving.And i had an arguement with the Sub Inspector & he said come what may you ar the culprit since you were driving the bigger vehicle.
    What kind of a law is this?

  12. Jagadish, trusting you with your story, you experienced that precise phenomena I described – “traffic socialism”. Got to live with it until enforcement gets some focus. I was expecting insurance companies to make life better on these counts, but what could they do! Or may be, they don’t want to do anything because this situation forces all caring four wheeler owners to buy comprehensive!

  13. Its a more than 2 yr old accident. I was coming from office late night on whitefield road in my own car. I saw a speeding two wheeler coming from the opposite direction, trying to negotiate w/ another vehicle, lost control, skidded for almost 10-20 ft before colliding w/ my vehicle near the right side front wheel mudgaurd. I tried my best to avoid the collision. There wasn’t much help avaialble around. I called police and w/ the help of cops rushed them to the hospital for first aid in my own car. Cops filed a case against me for rash and negligent driving as well as causing grievious injury. The bike was unregistered. I had to go to the RTO to get my vehicle released, gave a vehicle for reair & insurance claims, as I had comprehensive policy. After two months paid a fine of Rs 500. What can I or insurance company do in such a scenario? Any lessons?

  14. From your story (and trusting that), it seems like neither the cops nor your insurance company made their conclusions without doing enough investigations. insurance cos should help, because by proving that it was not your fault, they can make the other party pay for the damages. However, this is not helped by the fact that the two wheeler who ran into you may not even have any insurance.

    Insurance companies can help sort this mess for us. Cops too could, but change on that front can’t be speedy.

    About 4 months ago, I saw a truck hit into a two wheeler who was blatantly driving on the wrong side of a road with hard divider (they do that to avoid taking U-turns). I was shocked to see the truck driver getting attacked instead of the reckless biker.

  15. Well, this is life today in bangalore. All you 4 wheeler drivers out there – please drive slowly and carefully. I once attended a course at Indian Road Traffic Congress where the emphasis was on ensuring that the driver takes care to prevent any accident pro-actively — like scanning the road ahead (220 degrees view) for any likely mishaps (like a cow lazing on the road say 100m ahead — slow down as a biker may rashly come in your way or even road humps or potholes. The idea is to be on full alert while driving to prevent accidents — and this has really helped me. Anticipation is the key. Drive Safe please.

  16. what about bi-cycle riders without any head/stop lights ? and they come on ring roads and flyovers. If its raining heavily, we cant even see them..I consiously avoided one recentlyt, otherwise GOD only shud help..

    silkboard, true !! women drivers and men’s ego..

  17. Almost 10% of the global road traffic accidents occur in India. Much of the world wide web is full of sarcasm & mocking of the indisciplined driving on Indian roads. Unfortunately in since 60 years since independence the authorities have failed to publish a National Highway code. Licences are given to anyone who can demonstrate an ability to use the clutch-accelerator, consequently the motoer driving schools teach just that and no more. Concepts such as – blindspots, principle of MSM, the tyre & tarmac rule, 2 second gap and most improtantly giving way are not known to the average Indian driver.

    This site http://driving-india.blogspot.com/ has been created with the purpose of providing driver education and training to all Indian road users. It is by far the most comprehensive website providing training in defensive driving. Learning simple road habits can make our roads safe and also free up congestion caused by traffic chaos.

    At present 17 driver education videos aimed at changing the driving culture on Indian roads are available. The video are unique in that the footage is real life action from streets of London. We have copied the Western habits: Replaced the dhoti with denim, high rise buildings for Indian cottages, burgers and coke instead of Indian breads and perhaps sugarcane juice. Surely we can copy the Western ways of travelling too.

    To watch the videos, interested readers may visit: http://driving-india.blogspot.com/

    The videos cover the following topics:

    Video 1: Covers the concept of Blind spots
    Video 2: Introduces the principle of Mirrors, Signal and Manoeuvre
    Video 3: At red lights, stop behind the stop line
    Video 4: At red lights there are no free left turns
    Video 5: The Zebra belongs to pedestrians
    Video 6: Tyres and Tarmac (rather than bumper to bumper)
    Video 7: Merging with the Main road
    Video 8: Leaving The Main Road
    Video 9: Never Cut Corners
    Video 10: Show Courtesy on roads
    Video 11: 5 Rules that help deal with Roundabouts
    Video 12: Speed limits, stopping distances, tailgating & 2 seconds rule
    Video 13: Lane discipline and overtaking
    Video 14: Low beam or high beam?
    Video 15: Parallel (reverse parking) made easy
    Video 16: Give the cyclist the respect of a car
    Video 17: Dealing with in-car condensation

    Many thanks,

    Dr Adhiraj Joglekar

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