NaMo built great road infrastructure in Gujarat. Sadly, he did absolutely nothing to improve driver education, skills and enforcement.
Net result , you have the same bunch of yahoo's who think laws of dynamics & physics, somehow, don't apply to them, now on excellent roads. Gujarat has First world roads with legendary Indic driving skills. Now you can die at 100 kmph or more as against 60 kmph earlier. One can be re-born faster. I suppose this too is an improvement
People overtake on blind corners with absolutely no idea what's coming and then make frantic last adjustments (adaptive closed loop control system with overloaded front end) when they see coming their way, a lorry, overloaded, bursting and overflowing from all sides with bhoosa
also trying to overtake, a TVS 50 (thankfully not a LUNA TFR shaan ki safari
) - both doing 40 kmph. Wah, es akkal ke to kya kehene - Udhisht wahan chalaks
Traffic lights are well - ummm.. ahem..suggestions you see. Lekin udhar se koi nahi aa raha to kyon ruke. Hain jee?
or any other rationalisation that makes sense only to the person rationalising.
I have a lovely lovely friend - an Armoured Corps guy, the likes of which BRF would append a few Shri's before his name and do hazaar sashtang namaskar
if they ever met him. On roads and particularly the Mumbai - Pune MPE he drives like a crazed lunatic
. His justification, "Yaar, hum tank commander the
- dont' worry" He was a fantastic T72 commander in XX (not telling you) Amoured regiment and in his mind, therefore, he is entitled as a matter of right, to be exempt from the laws of physics.
Once, in Hyderabad, a XX unit fauji Suzuki rear ended me near the dreadful Panjagutta crossing. My scooter fell, as did I and with me, my female companion had a rather ungraceful and undignified fall , on al fours in full public view. Because, it was a fauji vehicle, I let the matter be and instead made small talk with the driver of the Suzuki - who at least was apologetic, unlike civilian drivers who despite being in the wrong -"hum kyon peeche hate
?" . Whatever, happened to keeping a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you? I know the driver education centre MIRC Ahmednagar teaches fauji drivers good driving skills. Humne dekha hai ji - guided tour pe. Sach
My female companion refused to talk to me after. I had to belo
lots of papad to be in her good books again. Her lament - "Fauji dikha ki nahi to tu pighal jata hai. Mera bhi to soch. Usko sunaya kyon nahi"
In desh, people's sole obsession is to make sure no one should insert themselves into the gap in front of them. A huge amount of focus, dedication and commitment is expended in this endevaour. It becomes an existential undertaking.
Even the gobermint and the RTO the most sensible, have decided that in most cities only a 2 wheeler driver needs a helmet - you see, the pillion driver is exempt from the law of conversation of energy when his/her/it's head impacts the road. Using the same (ill)ogic, only people sitting in the front of the car need seat belts. The moment a car is sold in India, rear passengers are exempt from law of conversation of energy so why should they be required to wear seat belts. Hain?
Off course, some 2 wheeler drives have decided that they too are exempt from the law of conversation of energy.
Some other drivers have come to the solution most brilliant, that there is maximum safety in having their helmet swinging from their wrist when they drive and some others have determined that the helmet strap need not be attached - it's best to leave it flapping in the wind against ones face - a free carbon neutral face massage n'est-ce pas
One fine day, it became personal. I was staying at a Goa base with a friend - perhaps, even more Shri and shashtang namaskar
worthy then my T72 Commander. A fine Sunday morning. he persuaded me easily to go on an early morning drive along the beautiful back roads of Goa. Parriker (and he is doing a fantastic job as DefMin - bless him) built good roads, even built speed breakers bit heh heh - not painted and not signed. So long story short, at ~ 80 kpmh my friend, I and bike took to early morning flight with no wings and no prayers unless the "F@ck, F@cks' from both of us can be considered a call to the almighty.
The bike landed on my right foot, the rear axle bolt dug, bored and went through my skin and exposed and fractured my ankle bone and abraded the skins on multiple parts of my and his body. It was quite a traumatic scene. The subsequent mis-diagnosis at the MH is a story for another time and place.
It took me 6 months to get off the walking stick hobble. I was very lucky that the ankle fracture healed properl, otherwise I may have had a lifestyle hit.
My head also hit the ground - but, despite my friend's protestations and taunts questioning my manhood, I chose to wear a helmet (he had called me a coward and pessimist which I ignored), I think it saved me. I stayed in a Goa hotel for 3.5 months, recuperating, eating room service fish curry every day - which I suppose was the only saving grace.
Cause: combination of good
roads, poor driving skills (not driving to road conditions) and unsigned speed breakers.
How does one stick to the left hand side of the road when it's 'polluted' with cattle, pot holes, pedestrians walking in a trance, cycle going "khatak khatak"
, chillis drying on the road side (Vedanthangal to Pudducherry) or the greatest existential innovation (juggad) - the Mahindra APE Diesel - its vibrations will easily re-arrange ones teeth over a short ride distance. There is good reason why women seem quite happy to ride this contraption. This wonder of desi engineering should not be unleashed even on TSP.
People, through sheer determination grit and bloody mindedness have reduced parts of the MPE to a state highway. They occupy one lane of this Expressway and flag down buses and trucks and the police do nothing - "hamare gaon ke log hain na"
. and then, you have the intrepid, crossing a six lane expressway. A disaster to happen.
Vishwamitri flyover - Vishwamitri Road Vadodara - great infrastructure. right fork goes to manjalpur, left fork to Kothi Char rasta. Legible signage 'Ilaa"
. There is a sign attached to the flyover ramp in 12 point font, head high which gets obscured by vehicles. The sarkari genius who approved this had no concept of sign legibility guidelines and advance notice to motorists. Haan, pun rasto bahu saras che bhai. Majja aavi gayu"
Gantry signs anybody?. Please.
Pune, FC Road used to be 2way. Its been a 1 way for many years. Did they change the gantry signs. No sir? Why for? At least up until a few months ago, the gantry signs point in the wrong direction of traffic confusing some hapless unfamiliar driver Diabolical RTO. Why worry? Have vada pav
I find truck drivers to be more trustworthy - they often check their rear view mirrors whereas, the 'hero/heroine' (Craziness is equal opportunity) in the sedan thinks rear view mirrors are provided to improve the "get up" of the car and to comb ones hair.
There was a time when my dad could come back home from work at the NDA Khadawasla and remark that today he saw so and so driving on the wrong side of the road. It was a talking point. Now, its so common, if its mentioned people wonder what the fuss is about. Instead, here, have oily samosa from Kapoors and lamingtons and sugary cream roll from Austin bakery baba.
Proper infrastructure is a combination of good roads, sensible laws, appropriate driver education and right amount of danda (enforcement).
Respect elders and love children, yes? I don't see any respect on Sinhagad Road Pune or on any other road for that matter. Hapless Senior citizens and little children wait to cross the road, give up and bravely step into the endless stream of traffic - on a pedestrian crossing. Who stops? Where is the respect? Instead, these senior citizens and kids get mercilessly honked at as they try and cross the road. Respect. Hmmm.
Infants and small kids are subjected to incessant honking. What's happening to their eardrums from all this noise abuse? We love children? Hmm.
Kashi has found an innovative solution - use cattle as a road divider - traffic order and punya
in 1 master stroke. That is , until one of these beasts abruptly decides to stand up, poop, pee and then and go whichever way it sees a plastic bag to eat and instantly changes traffic flow patterns. But saar, in Kashi, who dare moveth or question a cow even if a human dies?
Lane markings - that sir is decoration. To be captured in photos to project Indian soft power
Headlights.Why do cars sold in India have a low beam? Who uses low beam? Low beam is for wimps and losers.
Some have no beam - why use one's head lights when there is so much light from oncoming vehicles (as told to me). Gaadi chalaoo, Bijlee bachaoo
In Bangalore on Residency road, and other roads there and in other cities, during peak hours, I have often been hassled, honked and almost run over by 2 wheelers driving on footpaths with nary a care, thought or guilt.
Trouble is, none of this bad behaviour appears on a government balance sheet or statistic so nobody cares.
Repeat after me - all rules are contextual and the only context that is relevant is what's happening in my mind x 108. My world is real, yours is Maya - did you not know?
This madness will self resolve when self drive cars with auto lane assist, auto everything appear on our roads. Algorithms will talk to each other and conduct everything sanely and wisely. Then the incessant pointless honking will also stop, and the occupants can enjoy gota kadhi
and thepla achaar
. Mr Musk and Lord Googleswara will bring sanity. At it will be Made in India Until then, we are like this onlee.