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Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Who Killed The Pedestrian?

In yet another incident of a road traffic accident an 83 year old gentleman was killed by a 15 year old driving a motorcycle. The boy obviously did not have any license. The boy was let off on bail and the Police was still to decide whether the charges should include culpable homicide not amouhnting to murder. I fully sympathise with the family of the deceased and agree to the offence of the boy. But there are other aspects to this case which obviously our much enlightened society will not bother about.

The pedestrians in this country are a lawless breed. In fact, if one permits, i would like to term them as walking terrorists. Everyday these lawless people terrorise hundreds and thousands of motorists on the Road. The irony is that while the motorists are paying road tax, the pedestrians do not and still use the road blatantly. To add to it everytime a motorist hits or even nudges a pedestrian, he not only has to bear the brunt of the public but also face the law.

The pedestrians in our country can also be compared to stray animals who roam our streets without fear of law or God. The reason being we do not have any laws which prevent the pedestrians from being indisciplined on the roads, the west calls it jaywalking. How can the government bring in laws for jaywalking when they do not have footpaths, sidewalks, pavements or whatever one calls them? How can they have laws against crossing the roads, when they do not have sufficient zebra crossings or foot over bridges to allow people to use them? How many times has a pedestrian been blamed for causing an accident or being responsible for his own death? Why is it that every single time it is the motorist who gets blamed for the accident?

I do not know the circumstances of this particular case, but in most cases of road accidents the pedestrians are on the road, a place they have no business to be at. Under these circumstances even the most reasonable, careful and efficient driver may fall prey to such an accident and the poor man or woman has to face the wrath of the Police and the lopsided laws or lack of them.

A few days back I had written about Salman Khan driving an auto after having some drinks. Just because nothing happened that night, Salman Khan roams freely despite the news being reported by a leading newspaper of our country. Hell, he roams around freely even after actually killing people a few years back, driving again, in an inebriated state. Even in that particular case People of our country have no business sleeping on pavements.

Who afterall is responsible for pedestrian deaths in road accidents? In a system which has the necessary infrastructure and regulations in place, we can blame the motorist for the accident. However when the pedestrians are as irresponsible as those in India, the cases need to be investigated thouroughly. Most of all it is the State Government and the Municipal corporations who should be held responsible for not providing infrastructure to the pedestrians to move safely and for not having laws which prevent the pedestrians to behave in an irresponsible manner and expose themselves and the motorists to risk.

It is high time the Government and the bureaucrats woke up to their own responsibilities rather than being only judgemental on the behaviour of others. The poor boy's act which would at best have been termed as a minor misdemeanour is now being considered as a culpable homicide. Maybe it is another life destroyed because of the intransigence and immaturity of our Government which has refused to improve anything that the Britishers left us with about sixty years back.

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