Law says vehicles are bound to stop before crossing
Pedestrians in Bengaluru find it difficult to use zebra crossings because vehicles stop on them.
Harshal Dalvi, a Dasarahalli resident, finds it hard to cross roads at junctions as vehicles stop exactly on the crossings. “Sometimes I get late for the office. It is rather inconvenient to walk on the crossing,” he shared.
Niharika NM, another pedestrian, said: “Not every time there is a foot overbridge. Because of a past experience, I am very scared of crossing roads if there’s no zebra crossing,” she informed The Observer.
Girdhar Dheke, a tempo driver, reacted violently when a pedestrian, Kirti, asked him to stand behind the zebra crossing at a junction outside Cubbon Park. He refused to move back. When the signal turned green, he drove away in a huff. There was no traffic constable present there. “That is why the driver got away,” Kirti said out of frustration.
Sweety Kaustubh, mother of a 6-month-old, said she is scared to cross a road when there is no accessible zebra crossing. “I walk with a stroller almost every day. It is scary and inconvenient if I want to cross the road and there’s a car standing on the crossing,” she shared.
The Observer spoke to five autorickshaw drivers. Three of them had no idea about any rule that bans drivers from encroaching zebra crossings. However , the other two said it’s common sense that one should stand behind the crossings.
Manik G, a private cab driver, thinks a wise driver should know all the rules. “As a responsible driver, I know the rules and hence I stand behind the crossing. All drivers should do the same,” he said.
Arun Harchandani, a biker, said he always waits before the line. “As per a rule, not even our bumper tyre should touch the zebra crossing line. Pedestrians need proper space to cross the road,” he said.
Dinesh T, another biker, said sometimes the line is not clearly visible and “by mistake I stand on it sometimes”.
B.S. Prahallad, chief engineer, road and infrastructure department, BBMP, informed The Observer that because of rain, paint has washed off in many places. “After the rain stops, we will repaint it,” he said.
A traffic inspector on Raj Bhavan Road who did not want to be named said they warn vehicle drivers if they stand on crossings. “We are supposed to collect fines but we just warn them and tell them to go back.”
Traffic expert M.N. Sreehari explained to The Observer: “Zebra crossings are a necessity at the junctions. The shape of a crossing is very important. Also, the paint should be seen clearly. If it has been washed off, it should be repainted immediately.”
As per the new motor vehicle laws, vehicles have to stop before the zebra crossing on seeing the red light.
On the other hand, pedestrians are advised to stop and ensure that all traffic has stopped before they enter a zebra crossing. If there’s no specific signal for pedestrians, then they should wait for the traffic to slow down and then cross the street.
Strict rules have been introduced to instill discipline among commuters. Under the latest Motor Vehicles Act, two-wheelers or four-wheelers will be fined for jumping the zebra crossing at traffic signals.