VULNERABLE ROAD USERS
Human mind is tuned to visuals and when we think of traffic, it throws up pics of expressways and in lane traffic of big cities and sometimes of ghastly road accidents. There are lots of discussion on different media and conferences and seminars on traffic management, engineering and awareness and various other aspects but rarely has its focus on the vulnerable road users. The woes of the most vulnerable of the lot still doesn’t seem to be cause of concern and that unstinted focus on this area is urgently warranted.
Our roads are shared by all types of vehicles alongside the vulnerable road users; the motor cyclists, cyclists and pedestrians. Unlike the four wheelers, they don’t have any protection and bear the brunt of the road accidents. India is home to the largest number of road accidents and most unsafe traffic environment and an ecosystem which fails to improve with the changing times. The stakeholder collaboration so critical to its improvement is conspicuous by its absence.
Awareness for the vulnerable road users and the drivers of the risks and how their driving behaviour and road usage behaviour can drastically decrease the fatalities and injuries on the roads have to driven home with clarity and a commensurate strategy has to be put in place. Fine collection cannot be the only form of enforcement.
Besides, well thought out facilities ought to be provided to vulnerable road users and provided ones should be optimally used. It has to start with the gap analysis and an impact analysis ought to be conducted at regular intervals and changes should be made accordingly. This iterative process would help evolve a safer environment for the vulnerable road user. Speed and ease cannot happen at the expense of the vulnerable road users. In turn, it would usher in a new era in road safety environment of the country.
TRAFFIC SAFETY ECOSYSTEM’s MAIN CONCERN TODAY SHOULD BE THE SAFETY OF VULNERABLE ROAD USERS.