You know those vertical white stripes on the road? There are two categories of it; two that is of interest to me in this article. One, zebra crossing. Two, dividers.
Do you know what these white stripes signify or are meant to do? I think you all do, the Zebra Crossing indicates or provides a pathway for the pedestrians to cross the road and the Dividers split the road into two lanes, based on either speed or the type of vehicle.
That answered, now, do you think that these two lines ever perform the duty they are meant to perform?
Don’t even waste a second to think about it, the answer is no.
Zebra Crossing is the place where you halt your vehicle when you so heroically tried to get past the yellow signal, just in time to reach to that shrine of yours wherein people who arrive 40 seconds later than expected will be doomed for eternity, but failed miserably. Zebra Crossing is also the place where you push your vehicles towards when the red light on the signal is just about to become yellow.
Basically, Zebra Crossing is not meant for pedestrians, it is meant for vehicles. The idea of pedestrians crossing the road at the zebra crossing is impossible, for one, at some places the white paint on the road marking the zebra crossing is so very dim and worn off, and two, because all the wheels occupy most of it leaving no place for legs.
And pedestrians are no less. They don’t want to use the zebra crossing because they’d have to (in some cases) walk all the way from where they are in order to find it and then wait for the pedestrian signal to go green and then wait for the vehicles to clear and then cross. It is rather easy to cross the road in between because well, it’s just simpler and gets you across faster.
So, what is the point of the zebra crossing anyway? It’s just a waste of paint and it’s nothing more than just a design on the otherwise perfectly uniform black tar road.
If you are just looking at putting some design on the road, then zebra crossings are an awful selection. Think of different shapes and colours, people might probably stop behind it just to observe the design or art.
Last week, as I was going to my morning jog at Kukkarahalli kere, probably at around 8:00 AM, the traffic signal lights were working just fine, but behold, there was no police officer! I stopped at the signal for a few seconds and then I just felt like an idiot, so I just followed the crowd, like an idiot again, but being this category of idiot didn’t feel so bad.
Then, on my way back, I saw that the signals were again working just fine and now, there was a police officer and everyone were, more or less, following the rules. As I was waiting at the signal for my turn, I saw a foreign couple crossing the road, walking between the few vehicles that were so royally parked on the zebra crossing. As they were halfway through, the signal went from red to yellow and all the vehicles honked unanimously, producing a noise that would beat the best of trumpets in the days of yore, and the couple, petrified, ran back from whence they had stated their dangerous journey of crossing the road!
When I had been to Europe in June, my friends and I felt like kings! We ruled the road and the pedestrian was God. If I put one foot on the zebra crossing, then no matter how many wheelers (I’m not exaggerating the least when I say that even the intracity trains) stopped and waited for us to cross. Then they proceeded forth. The couple, probably from Europe, having lived in such a situation would feel the Indian road/ traffic condition nothing more than juvenile and idiotic and senseless.
Worry not, it’s not just the foreign couple, some of us Indians too feel that the Indian road/ traffic condition is nothing more than juvenile and idiotic and senseless.
Now coming to the White line in between the road, the Divider. Hell, I needn’t even explain about this. This is just something on which most of us fancy riding our two wheelers. This absolutely has no purpose in India. Irrespective of the line, three to four vehicles of different sizes try to go next to each other at different speeds. I don’t know what to say about it, just want to end the discussion of this in one word : Useless!
So, to conclude, scrape the lines on the road or do something serious about it. And who has to do it? Don’t say us because I know it never works. The answer is, drumroll please, the traffic police (surprise surprise). And how do they “take some serious action”? They impose fines. That’s the only way we learn. Where there is no money, there is no place for learning. Impose fines if drivers cross the or park their vehicles on the zebra crossing. Impose fines if pedestrians cross the roads in between and impose fines if the set rules on the lanes are breached.
Now, before imposing fines, teach the policemen first about these concepts. I bet most of them have no idea as to what the Divider does and they have no concern about the pedestrians. So, one final touch to this painting, impose fines on those police officers who don’t impose fines on the law breakers.
And why am I telling you all this when I clearly know that you won’t really take my words for commandments and obey them faithfully?
I don’t know. I really hadn’t thought about it until this point…
Photo Credits : Most of it has been shot by me, but some I have borrowed from Google Images and they belong to Safetracks, The Times of India and Mid-Day.