Indian roads: good horns, good brakes, good luck

This is for the sake of urban growth, buses with dvd and surround system and, of course, the Indian rickshaws.

Bhawanipatna, district of Kalahandi, Orissa

According to different sources cited by this The Guardian´s article, India´s roads are officially the most dangerous in the world based on number of car-accident victims:

Last year road accidents claimed more than 130,000 lives – overtaking China, which has seen fatalities drop to fewer than 90,000, and prompting a government review into traffic safety… Ministers are considering a range of new measures, such as making airbags and anti-braking system mandatory in all cars. Trucks may also be fitted with speed breakers in a bid to bring down fatalities. However, many experts say that new laws will have little effect in India, where seat belts are rarely worn and where no one can anticipate with any certainty the behavior of the average road user.

Nor can most road users guess what type of vehicle they will face – Delhi alone has 48 different “modes of transport” including cows, elephants and camels as well as cycle-rickshaws and SUVs. Rohit Baluja of Delhi’s Institute of Road Traffic Education says “the real issue is not car design but road design. About 85% of all deaths on the roads are pedestrians and cyclists not drivers. We do not design traffic management systems to separate different streams of traffic. In America this began in 1932”. He says that an immediate step should be “proper driver training and licensing so that you cannot buy a license through bribes. In Delhi there are 110 million traffic violations a day.”

The Geneva-based International Road Federation estimates that India already accounts for about 10% of the million-plus fatal accidents in the world – and the absolute number will continue to rise unless checked as more Indians take to the roads. Figures produced by the Indian government already put the social cost of accidents between 2-3% of the GDP every year…

Bhawanipatna, district of Kalahandi, Orissa

It takes me back to that 18-hour journey from Kodaikanal to Chennai, the Bolliywood movie whilst my leg´s infected wound was getting worse, the shortcuts to avoid elephants in Orissa, and many exciting rickshaw-minutes from office to home in Chennai.


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