Pune: Question of Pedestrian Safety is Again on the Agenda

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Pune, October 11, 2020: On September 22, 2020, a 48-year-old pedestrian woman was hit by a 19-year-old two-wheeler rider on the Chikhli-Akurdi road in Pimpri-Chinchwad and died on the spot.

Suraj Jaipurkar and Priya Pharande, coordinators of STEP (Steps Toward Empowering Pedestrians), a forum working for pedestrian safety and rights, visited the spot and inspected the road and traffic. They spoke to Santosh Kumar Mali, the brother of the deceased woman, and got detailed information from the handcart driver and other people who witnessed the accident. The survey found that apart from local vehicles, company buses coming from Chakan as well as other private buses ply on this road and all the vehicles are speeding on this road. There is no footpath available anywhere on this road. Hence, the woman had to walk along the side of the road.

“The woman was walking on the side of the road at around 9 pm when a speeding two-wheeler hit her from behind and drove her away, she died on the way to the hospital.” This information was given by Santosh Kumar Mali, brother of the deceased woman. He added and said if there would have been a footpath on this street, my sister would have been alive today.

“This is, of course, the fault of the speeding two-wheeler rider, and the concerned authority is acting upon it. But isn’t there something wrong with the administration? According to the guidelines of the Indian Road Congress and Pune’s Pedestrian Policy, well-designed footpaths are required for the safety and convenience of pedestrians, but they are not available. The person at fault for any accident is often found out but no one talks about the facilities that should be available on any road. There should be a footpath. It is the responsibility of the corporation to provide footpaths on the city roads. Pedestrians are losing their lives due to the irresponsibility of the corporation”, said STEP coordinator Suraj Jaipurkar.

“STEP conducted a survey for pedestrians in Pune city in December 2019, which found that the high speed of the vehicles is the main reason why pedestrians feel unsafe while walking on the road. Vehicles not complying with the speed limit should be dealt with the right action. The appropriate speed breakers and other traffic calming measures should be used to control the speed of vehicles. It is the responsibility of the corporation to install footpaths, speed breakers and signals. How many more pedestrians will have to lose their lives for the corporation to realize its responsibility?” said Priya Pharande, Coordinator, STEP.

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