Forget about reducing carbon footprint. Riding a two-wheeler or taking a ride in a four-wheeler will probably hurt you less than walking down city roads. Pushkal Shivam tells you why, as we continue our campaign for better civic amenities.
The National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) statistics on accidental deaths have frightening news for pedestrians in Chennai.
(See infographic at left.)
If you like to walk, footpaths in the city are not safe for you. In 2012, 103 pedestrians died in road accidents in Chennai. Also, more pedestrians died in road accidents that year than in the preceding five-year period.
Moreover, the same year, the number of pedestrian fatalities is greater than the number of people who died while travelling in cars or three-wheelers. Compared to the number of pedestrian deaths in 2012, only 59 people died in road accidents while travelling in a car, according to NCRB records.
However, some researchers question the accuracy of NCRB data. Roshan Toshniwal of Transparent Chennai said pedestrian fatalities in Chennai are seriously under-reported. For example, according to data collected by Transparent Chennai, the number of pedestrian fatalities in 2012 was 499 as opposed to 103 reported by NCRB.
Also, 564 pedestrians died in road accidents in 2011 as opposed to 0 reported by NCRB. “I am surprised the NCRB data shows figures of 1 and 0 for 2007 and 2008. In 2008, the number of accidents reported peaked. It is difficult to believe not a single person was killed,” said Toshniwal.
As per NCRB records, Tamil Nadu witnessed a higher number of pedestrian deaths in road accidents than Chennai alone did in the last decade. A total of 6,287 pedestrians died in road accidents in Tamil Nadu since 2003, at a yearly average of 629. Or, on average, nearly two pedestrians died in road accidents each day in the State.
On the other hand, the total number of pedestrians who died in road accidents in Chennai over the last ten years is 579. 2004 was the worst year for pedestrians in the last decade. A total of 199 pedestrians died in road accidents that year. What is even more striking is that of all the people who died in road accidents in Chennai that year, 36.45 per cent were pedestrians.
From 2007 to 2011, a total of 79 pedestrians died in road accidents. However, this does not suggest the number of pedestrians affected in road accidents also reduced. The number of pedestrians affected in road accidents remained high.
For instance, in 2007, only one pedestrian death was reported. But the total number of pedestrians affected due to road accidents the same year is 1,416, according to Chennai traffic police’s RTI response to Transparent Chennai.
Similarly, though the number of pedestrians affected in road accidents in 2008 remained as high as 1,508, no deaths were reported by NCRB. The number of pedestrian deaths increased to 76 in 2010 before plummeting to zero again in 2011.
Nevertheless, pedestrians continued to suffer during these years. Since 2006, 12,688 pedestrians have been affected in road accidents in Chennai, according to Transparent Chennai.
Senior police officers refused to comment on the difference in the accident figures reported by the two agencies.
Some of the roads in Chennai where pedestrians are highly vulnerable include Anna Salai, OMR, P.H. Road, GST Road, EVR Salai, Velachery Main Road, 100-feet Road, Thiruvotiyur High Road, CTH Road, Rajaji Salai, Kamaraj Salai, S.N. Chetty Street, ECR.