Traffic experts estimate the number of road humps in the city to be around 6,000, a majority of which are the worst examples of road engineering.

Thirty-two is no age to die. But Shashikant Pande did. The software engineer, married just a year, was riding home last week after work when he crashed into the median on Iblur road in Madiwala here. The impact was such that he was flung on the other side of the median and was run over by a vehicle.

Shashikant Pande’s death is just one of the hundreds of accidents that take place in the city every year due to unscientifically constructed medians and road humps.

Agree to disagree

According to Traffic Police statistics, 3,721 road accidents took place this year as of August 2012, claiming 486 lives and injuring 1,450. Both the police as well as traffic experts agree that badly made medians and road humps are responsible for many of these casualties. However, they disagree over the statistics. The traffic police claim that no more than 10 to 15 per cent of the accidents can be attributed to road humps and dividers, but traffic expert M.N. Sreehari insists that the figure is runs up to 50 per cent of the fatal accidents.

Worst examples

Traffic experts estimate the number of road humps in the city to be around 6,000, a majority of which are the worst examples of road engineering.

According to Prof. Sreehari, as per the Indian Road Congress (IRC), no humps should exist on major roads. “But some residents, with the help of local councillors, have these laid in their areas to reduce the speed of vehicles.” The IRC specifies that a road hump should be a smooth parabolic design with a height of 15 cm and width of 3.5 m. It should be painted and embedded with cat-eye reflectors.

There should be a signboard, Hump Ahead, at least 100 m before it and the area illuminated properly.

No specifications

Curiously, there appears to be no specifications for road dividers, allowing the authorities to be slipshod. Prof. Sreehari cited the example of a row of hollow bricks on the Richmond Circle flyover to serve as a road divider, clearly a traffic hazard. Besides, there is not enough illumination — both streetlights and reflectors — to help drivers spot the medians, particularly at night.

Casual callousness

Indeed, one can often see casually placed cement blocks or stones doubling as road dividers, some of which have been knocked aside into the path of oncoming traffic. Worse still, on rainy nights drivers routinely report seeing vehicles straddling medians that were invisible in the downpour. In most cases they don’t have reflectors or the latter have been stolen or vandalised.

Yes, but…

Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic) M.A. Saleem admitted that dividers and road humps are a traffic hazard but disagreed with Prof. Sreehari on the percentage of accidents they contributed to.

He attributed such accidents to poor visibility and high beam lights on heavy motor vehicles.

He also pointed out that non-fatal accidents are rising, leaving many permanently disabled.

The Traffic Department has removed over 500 unscientific road humps since January.

Though high beam lights were banned in 2003, many still routinely switch them on, endangering lives of others.

Advisory panel

Prof. Sreehari stressed the need for an advisory committee to maintain roads in the city. The department should have a committee comprising at least a senior police officer with a traffic engineer to plan and execute the road humps and dividers.

The absence of such a committee has led to the laying of road humps and dividers any which way, contributing to the city’s road death statistics.

RELATED NEWS

Best city to live in is on a downward slide December 11, 2012

More In: Bangalore