Of Road Infrastructure and Traffic Discipline
We in India get thrilled when we get a six-lane highway, having been deprived of good roads in the past. What a six-lane highway does is increase the speed of vehicles and that is where the problem starts. First and foremost, a highway should be designed well and not in a haphazard manner wherein, for instance, three lanes merge into two lanes without a warning. Even if three lanes merge into two, there should not be a wall at a right angle across the third lane; it should merge in gradually so that even if a driver or rider is caught unawares, they will not be vulnerable to a head-on collision, at worst a glancing blow.
The road tax we pay is one of the highest in the world and the road infrastructure is pathetic. Furthermore, we have to pay toll for roads that are half decent.
The road transport ministry is trying to make helmets mandatory for pillion riders as well, which is a welcome move. We know that it is very inconvenient to carry an extra helmet, but the pillion rider is at as much risk of getting hurt (or even worse) as the rider.
On the one hand, the ministry of road transport wants to push the use of helmets and, on the other, the government has banned the import of helmets that are superior to the ISI-mark helmets sold here. This is a little perplexing, to say the least.
To make the roads safer we must enforce traffic rules and have a stringent riding/driving test in place. Almost ninety-nine per cent of the people who possess a licence to ride a bike should not be on the road in the first place, for they have no clue about riding a bike nor are they conversant with the basic traffic rules since there is no rider training programme before issuing a licence.
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