The Traffic Department has launched a special drive across the city to create awareness on the dangers of jaywalking, which they said accounts for the highest number of road accident deaths. In order to raise awareness among pedestrians, police will conduct drives at specific locations, and violators will be fined ₹10.
On Monday, traffic officials held a meeting with Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike officials and submitted a proposal to construct high-rise pedestrian crossings across the city on a priority basis.
“Officials, who conducted a survey, prepared a list of 240 locations where high-rise pedestrian crossings can be built. BBMP officials agreed to construct 50 on a priority basis and the rest will be completed in a phased manner,” said B.R. Ravikanthe Gowda, Joint Commissioner of Police (Traffic), who chaired the meeting. This is not the first time that the traffic police have approached civic agencies on the need for better infrastructure for pedestrians.
The traffic police also discussed the existing situation of skywalks and underpasses. “BBMP and traffic police will jointly deploy security personnel at the underpasses to ensure the safety of citizens,” Mr. Gowda said.
‘No pedestrian facilities’
However, citizens and activists are up in arms over this drive, arguing that they have no choice but to walk on roads due to the absence of poor pedestrian facilities. “You cannot penalise people for jaywalking unless the city has walkable footpaths, pedestrian crossings and skywalks,” said an activist.
Last week, Janaagraha Centre for Citizenship and Democracy conducted a survey of just five wards and found that pedestrian facilities are abysmally dismal. Varthur ward for instance scored zero, while Sanjaynagar, in North Bengaluru scored two.
An analysis of pedestrian accidents conducted by the traffic police revealed that over 70% of pedestrian deaths in and around the city occurred while crossing the roads, Mr. Gowda said.
Data in the last three years showed that a total number of 598 pedestrians were killed in accidents: 278 pedestrians died in 2019. During the pandemic years, with movement restricted, the number of deaths dropped to 64 in 2020 and 161 in the year 2021.