‘Deadly curve’ claims nine lives in six months

The bike that was involved in the accident at Elamkulam on Sahodaran Ayyappan Road on Wednesday night resulting in the death of two youths.   | Photo Credit: H. VIBHU

The accident-prone curve near the Elamkulam metro station on SA Road claimed the life of two young motorbike riders on Wednesday midnight, taking the number of casualties in the area in the past six months to nine.

The most accident-prone spot in the city has witnessed eight fatal accidents since September 2020. “All but one victim [an autorickshaw driver who died after he lost control of his vehicle] were young two-wheeler riders, and all the accidents took place at night,” said T.B. Vijayan, Assistant Commissioner, City Traffic Police.

The two youths who were killed in the accident around 1.30 a.m. were identified as Vishal, 25, and Sumesh, 22, of Kudumbi Colony, Elamkulam. One of them was employed at a private bank, while the other was into online delivery of goods.

Preliminary reports and CCTV footage suggested that the riders were over-speeding, the Kadavanthra police said.

In the light of a spree of fatal and non-fatal accidents at the curve between metro pillars 819 and 826, the police had in December 2020 directed Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL) to install reflective sign boards and cat’s eye reflectors to enhance the visibility of road markings. Faced with flak for delay in getting them done, following a fatal accident in January, the metro agency had installed reflectors at the curve to forewarn motorists.

Although the Kochi Corporation owns SA Road, KMRL is responsible for its upkeep, since the year-long defect-liability period of its resurfacing completed in August 2020 has not expired.

Mr. Vijayan said the spree of accidents at the curve after the road was resurfaced points to over-speeding and the need to probably correct the ‘banking curve’, if needed. The help of the National Transportation Planning and Research Centre (NATPAC) has been sought to identify potential problems and suggest remedial measures. “Police presence had been stepped up at the area during the past month. Personnel bearing LED light batons were at the spot from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. The accident involving a power-packed high-end bike occurred a few minutes later,” he added.

Perhaps a combination of blinker lights, rumble strips on the road, and flexi-tubes having reflectors might help forewarn motorists. Almost all bike riders hit metro pillars or light poles after being thrown off the vehicles. Constructing speed-breakers on the road to reduce riders’ speed might result in accidents involving those who drive carefully as well, since they will be caught unawares, Mr. Vijayan said.

Sources in the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), the agency that executed KMRL’s metro and road restoration projects, said no change was made in the road’s alignment or the curvature, while resurfacing it.

Drunk driving

Enforcement RTO (Ernakulam) Shaji Madhavan confided that several accidents at the curve involved youth driving in an inebriated state or without helmet, late at night. “The power-packed bike involved in the latest accident was priced over ₹2 lakh. A forensic team examined the spot and concluded that the bike had hit the median and lost control. The MVD has sought the permission of the Traffic Advisory Committee to deploy Artificial Intelligence-aided, number plate recognition and speed detection cameras at the locale, to rein in accidents,” he said.

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Printable version | Apr 16, 2021 6:31:34 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/deadly-curve-claims-nine-lives-in-six-months/article33936716.ece

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