Watch your Step
H. Kishie Singh
A busy road is not the place to listen to music or make a phone call. In fact, all your senses should be alert to your surroundings
H. Kishie Singh
Some weeks ago,
there was a serious accident resulting in the death of a young
girl, who was crossing a crowded road while wearing headphones.
She was either listening to music or talking on her cellphone.
Since the ear plugs had cut out sound, she was totally oblivious
of her surroundings. While crossing the road, she got hit by a
cyclist and stumbled.
As she was trying
to regain her balance, she stepped into the path of a speeding
bus. She died on the spot in the freak accident.
A busy road is not
the place to listen to music or make a phone call. This applies
to pedestrians and motorists as well. On a busy road, all your
senses should be alert to your surroundings.
An outcome of
being absorbed in music or a phone call is that your
concentration is not where it should be. As such, you are not
able to respond to an emergency situation appropriately.
Thinkstockphotos/ Getty Images
The proper place
to listen to music is at home, in your lounge, study or bedroom,
not while crossing a crowded road or driving on a busy street.
Certainly not the place to be checking your e-mail or texting.
It is a common
sight to see motorists, cyclists, pedestrians, scooterists using
a cellphone. Go for a walk in the early morning in the
Bougainvillea Garden, and people have earphones plugged it. An
early morning walk in a garden is time to clear the mind, get
your thoughts in order, may be mutter a prayer and thank the
In the past four
years, 697 persons have died on Chandigarh roads. Of these, 598
were pedestrians, cyclists or scooterists. The reasons were
carelessness and ignoring traffic rules.
One of the
reasons, if not the only one, could be explained in the words of
Sherlock Holmes. He told his companion Dr. Watson, "Watson,
you saw but you did not observe!" This is exactly what
kills pedestrians, cyclists or motorists, who are immersed in an
activity not compatible with being a road user.
Here are some Doís
and Doníts that might save a life.
The Journal of
Safety Research in the USA has highlighted a study on the use of
cellphones by pedestrians. They could not hear a car horn that
was a warning to the pedestrian. They were simply impervious to
their surroundings. The pedestrian failed to act because
reflexes slow down. You may look but not absorb. The momentary
lapse could be fatal.
While a motorist
can be challaned for using a cellphone while driving, there is
no provision in the Motor Vehicles Act to challan a pedestrian
or cyclist while doing so. Some countries have laws against jay
walking. Jay walking is defined as "walking carelessly on a
road without paying attention to traffic". This happens all
the time on our roads.
Madhya Marg is the
most murderous stretch in Chandigarh. Thorny bougainvillea and
barbed wire has failed to deter pedestrians from jumping over
these obstacles. A woman absorbed in untangling her "dupatta"
from the barbed wire stumbles into the path of a vehicle.
The speed limit on
Madhya Marg is 65 kmph. A person on being hit by a mass of steel
will reduce the human body to a mushy carcass, the consistency
of strawberry jam. There is another downside to using earphones.
Over a period of time, subjecting your ear to headphones may
lead to a loss of hearing.
There are no laws
against jay walking or jumping over road dividers or using
headphones by pedestrians. Yet we know these endanger lives.
Common sense should prevail and youngsters should be advised to
use the gadgets sensibly so as not to risk their lives. Happy