Sumana Narayanan, Researcher, CAG
In the rat race that is the urban lifestyle, we constantly have our foot on the accelerator, trying to get from point A to B in impossibly short times. Small gap in traffic opens in front of us and the instinct is to floor it and close the gap. God forbid someone else reacts quicker, sneaks in, and gets ahead of us! And then there are those situations when the intersection is several 100m ahead and the light turns green. Of course, we must hit 80 kmph and make the green because the world will come to an end if we miss the light.
The other day, at the traffic lights, the “No U Turn” sign, with the red line slashed across the bent arrow, caught my eye. It occurred to me that these signs must be standard across the world. Otherwise, in addition to dealing with each country’s traffic idiosyncrasies, one would also have to learn and unlearn traffic signs. This got me wondering when this standardisation came about and what driving a vehicle must have been like before standards were set and implemented.
Pedestrians are at the bottom of the pecking order of Indian roads. They are a group to be honked at, splashed with dirty rainwater, and given nasty looks for having the temerity to cross the road when there a motorised vehicle within a one-kilometre radius. And of course, pavements for pedestrians are a waste of space. In short, pedestrians should not be allowed to exist.