Whoever said footpaths are for pedestrians? In Bangalore, it is more than likely that you’ll turn around to find a two-wheeler honking at pedestrians, demanding the right of way.
Accounting for almost 70 per cent of all vehicles in the city, two-wheelers are literally spilling onto the footpaths, causing inconvenience to pedestrians.
The Bangalore City Traffic Police, which booked 19,232 cases against footpath riding in 2013, also confiscated the driving licenses of 2,650 offenders and forwarded them to the Transport Department with a recommendation for their suspension. This year (till end of March), a total of 2,201 offenders have been booked for footpath riding.
Suresh N.K., the traffic police constable posted near Christ University, close to Dairy Circle junction, to assist students, says, “They (two-wheelers riders) intentionally go up on the footpath to avoid peak hour traffic. Whichever side I’m on, they go on the opposite side.”
Shalini V., a 26-year-old housewife and resident of Mysore Road, said she dreads walking on the footpaths. “Two-wheelers on footpaths scare me. It is a disturbance. They ought to stay on the road.”
Aditya T.V.M., a private company employee, said: “There is no space to walk on the footpaths. I wouldn’t give a two-wheeler the right of way on the sidewalk. Also barriers can be put up to prevent this from happening.”
Meanwhile, Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic) B. Dayananda said the violators are not only booked for footpath riding, they are also charged with rash and negligent driving.
Though citizens sought to hold the police accountable for the menace, the traffic police is finding itself understaffed and is in turn encouraging the public to report the violations through social media.
Mr. Dayananda admitted that the menace is severe in Bangalore. To report the violations, citizens can capture a picture of the violation on their mobile phones and can either post it on the traffic police’s Facebook page or website. Alternatively, citizens can also download the recently launched Public Eye mobile app that allows them to not only upload the picture of the offence, but also the location.