A 29-year-old man died on the spot when the motorcycle he was riding was hit from behind by a water tanker at Pallikaranai on Velachery Main Road on Saturday morning.
The accident took place a little past 8 a.m. Private heavy vehicles are not permitted on arterial roads of the city suburbs including Velachery Main Road between 8 a.m. and 11 a.m.
Personnel at St. Thomas Mount Traffic Police (Enforcement and Investigation wings) told reporters at Pallikaranai that S. Srinivasan, a resident of Perumbakkam, was on his way to Taramani, where he was employed as an executive in a private company.
Around 8.15 a.m., he was knocked down by a speeding water tanker. He fell down, critically injured, and was rushed by passers-by to a private hospital nearby where he was pronounced dead on arrival. The victim is survived by his wife Geetha and their two children – a son and a daughter.
Menace of lorries
The incident has yet again highlighted the issue of the use of arterial roads by private water and sewage cleaning tankers, container lorries as well as sand-laden tipper trucks.
Roads such as Velachery Main Road, Pallavaram – Thoraipakkam Radial Road, Rajiv Gandhi Salai, Medavakkam Main Road, East Coast Road as well as Grand Southern Trunk Road are out of bounds for such vehicles between 8 a.m. and 11 a.m. and in the evening between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m,.
Some years ago, the restriction was in vogue only on GST Road.
Then, it was extended to the other arterial roads to ease congestion and lessen accidents, policemen said. However, garbage dumping vehicles of local bodies, including Chennai Corporation, are exempt from this restriction.
Incidentally, following the accident, all private heavy vehicles on Velachery Main Road and Pallavaram – Thoraipakkam Radial Road that were on their way to deliver drinking water to homes and commercial complexes, as well as sewage tankers headed to the Sewage Treatment Plant of Chennai Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board at Perungudi, were detained beneath the grade separator at Pallikaranai.
The vehicles were let off only after an assurance from the operators that they would abide by the regulations. Policemen said they had increased the duration of the time during which the restriction was in effect — 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 4 p.m to 9 p.m.
The vehicles owners were warned of measures such as confiscation of vehicles if they violated the timing in the future.
Motorists not convinced
However, some motorists were not convinced. “What is the point in the crackdown after the loss of an innocent life,” asked P. Anand, a motorcyclist on the Radial Road heading towards Pallikaranai. The motorcyclist, as well as petty shop owners around the grade separator, said the stretch on Velachery Main Road between the bus stop near Balaji Dental College and Madipakkam Link Road was a high risk zone.
On March 12, S. Gangadharan (29) of Bengaluru died in a similar accident at Pallikaranai, while he was on his way to Velachery railway station on a motorcycle to pick up his wife.
A few weeks ago, two women residents of Mylai Balaji Nagar died after they were run down by a lorry. Traffic Police (Enforcement) officials said they had stepped up safety measures including installation of barricades and sand drums with reflective stickers at important spots on this arterial road.
They said that they were hopeful of an improvement in road safety and reduction in the accident rate.