About 350 pedestrians are killed in road accidents in the city every year, writes K.V. Subramanya

CONVERSION OF several roads in Bangalore into one-ways has apparently turned out to be disastrous. While the one-ways have eased traffic congestion to some extent in the city, the move has led to an increase in the number of road accidents, particularly those involving pedestrians. About 350 pedestrians are killed and hundreds injured in road accidents in the city every year.

Analysing the causes for road accidents involving pedestrians, senior police officials said one-ways encouraged motorists to speed, putting the pedestrians at risk.

Violation of the one-way rule has also resulted in accidents, particularly during the night and early hours. As there are no traffic policemen to check violations during the night, people tend to drive up the wrong way, resulting in collisions with other vehicles and also pedestrians, they said.

Explaining how the increasing speed levels were leading to accidents, the police said that as the outer ring roads were good, drivers were tempted to go top gear.

Moreover, pedestrian behaviour itself was one of the important causes for the accidents. People tend to stroll across and cross the roads where they are not supposed to, say the police.

Another major cause of such accidents is the inadequate pedestrian facilities in the city. There are no pedestrian subways, foot-overbridges and zebra crossings on many busy roads, including J.C. Road and Kempe Gowda Road in the heart of the city.

Further, Hosur Road, Sarjapur Road, Bannerghatta Road, Tumkur Road, Mysore Road and the outer ring roads in the city have virtually turned into death traps for pedestrians. On the entire stretch of Hosur Road, where vehicles normally overspeed, there is not a single pedestrian crossing. Pedestrian safety has been totally ignored, says an official

As a large number of industries, educational institutions and business establishments are located on Hosur Road, there is heavy pedestrian movement here. In fact, Hosur Road accounts for the highest number of fatal accidents and hit-and-run cases.

Checking the speed limit of vehicles and providing foot-overbridges can reduce the accidents involving pedestrians. Under the Chief Minister's 10-point programme to improve Bangalore city traffic, 10,000 metres of footpath are being barricaded with openings only at strategic locations to regulate pedestrian movement and ensure their safety. Besides, pedestrian walkovers are being provided at 10 locations where the pedestrian movement is high, an official says.