A SET of photographs that New Age published on its back page on Saturday show how a policeman leaps over a fence on a road divider at Shanir Akhra, how a motorcyclist rides with pillions without helmets at Matuail and how people hop on road dividers at Matuail and Rayerbagh with footbridges close by in Dhaka. These photographs show that ordinary people and even some police personnel, who are mandated to keep law and order, are in the habit of breaching traffic rules. Motorcyclists keep riding with pillions without helmets and footbridges and underpasses remain unused or underused while traffic rules continue to be violated. Each and everyone, irrespective of their rank and responsibilities, keep flouting traffic rules routinely. And when this is typical of the capital city, it is not difficult to guess what happens in other cities and towns.
Such incidents keep taking place as most of the traffic-related directives have remained unheeded for years, adding to the risk of road accidents and chaos on the road. Motorcycles without registration and motorcyclists without helmets are not rare. Motorcyclists very often run roughly on the road. The major cause behind motorcycle accidents is that most of the riders are young and do not care to follow traffic rules. Such disregard for traffic rules has resulted from a section of traffic officials remaining indifferent to the violation of rules. Besides, footbridges remain underused because they often remain occupied by vendors, leaving little space for pedestrians. Teeming with vendors, drug addicts and criminals, these are bound to be hazardous for women to pass through. Another reason is that pedestrians find most of the footbridges and underpasses insecure and unsafe for use because of their flawed designs and inappropriate locations. Dhaka’s city corporations could compel pedestrians to use footbridges by erecting fences or dividers to discourage people from crossing the roads, but city corporations should also have found out appropriate locations for footbridges and underpasses before they were built. And pedestrians would also be happy to use conveniently located footbridges without scaling fences and dividers.
The steps that government agencies have so far taken for the use of footbridges and underpasses were found to be irresolute. Authorities now must run campaigns in this regard so that people become aware of the benefits of using footbridges and underpasses out of their own volition. The police also must enforce traffic rules strictly to reduce the number of road accidents significantly.
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