Pedestrians and cyclists have emerged as the most vulnerable group on Delhi roads with the two of them accounting for the largest share of road injuries and deaths. Worse, Delhi also has the highest number of fatal accidents among all major cities, with five deaths recorded per day.

This has been revealed in the latest assessment of road accident risk and accident hotspots in Delhi by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), which recently released this data at a workshop titled ‘Our Safe Right to Way – Addressing safety and accessibility in Indian cities’.

According to the report, Delhi ranks the highest in terms of fatal accidents and in number of pedestrians and cyclists falling victim to road crashes. Every week, two cyclists and one car rider dies in Delhi. Till May this year, road accidents had claimed 325 lives during the night and 332 lives during the day.

Violation of rules is rampant with 329,000 cases of signal jumps, over 14,000 cases of drunken driving and 45,158 cases of over speeding being reported. Chennai, which follows Delhi in road accident deaths, reports 25 per cent less fatalities.

“Globally, walkers and cyclists together make up a quarter of the road injury and death victims. In Delhi, the share of pedestrians falling victims to road crashes is as high as 44 per cent – the highest among key metro cities. According to an IIT study, 51 per cent of the 8,503 fatalities which occurred in road crashes in Delhi during 2006 to 2009 were pedestrians. Among motorised vehicles, two-wheelers are the most vulnerable. Most of the pedestrians who are brought to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences Trauma Centre belong to the lower socio-economic strata,” noted the report.

CSE director general Sunita Narain, who herself has recently recovered from a serious cycling accident, said: “Walking, cycling and public transport will not work if people are not safe and are injured or die while travelling.”

“If any other cause were responsible for so many deaths in the country, it would have led to emergency measures,” added CSE executive director Anumita Roychowdhury.

Meanwhile, the report has warned that while metro cities record very high rates of accidents, smaller cities are fast catching up.

Highly motorised cities including Mumbai, Chennai, Delhi and Bangalore top the list with the highest numbers of injuries and deaths as recorded by the Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.

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