Ride to death
To bring down casualties we need schools to train bikers!
DR AKHTAR HUSSAIN MIR
The recent tragic motorbike accident at Foreshore road, Srinagar, and another one at Bemina, resulting in the loss of three lives should serve as an eye opener to all of us.
A friend of mine was crossing the road on a red traffic signal near Tourist Reception Centre. Suddenly from nowhere a scooter came in front of him, startling him and making him stop in the middle of the road. The scooter had to stop as well. My friend asked him why he violated the traffic signal. The angry scooterist told him, "Uncle, what world are you living in? Who bothers about traffic signals these days?" and immediately sped away, leaving my friend speechless…and angry at his inability to do anything about this.
I was in a car going to the airport. Taking left at the zum zum crossing suddenly a person on a scooter, wearing a lab coat, mindlessly came in from the opposite direction. He had presumably come from the Bone and joint hospital gate and probably wanted to go to the Ram Bag on the other side of the road.
Normally, to do that, you have to either make a U-turn ac cross the bridge or go from Barzalla road through a side lane. The unmindful Scooterist was traveling in the wrong direction not bothered either for his own life or for the trouble he would cause to someone else!
It is not surprising then that bikers form the largest casualty group among motorists. In just last three months many motorcyclist have died in accidents. And it is not just reckless riding that’s to blame—often, riders are clueless about things like traction control under hard braking and heavy loads, or on wet/oily roads. This is where proper training can help. If we look around our city we find many Car Driving Schools on every road, but ever seen a bike riding school?
In the US, the Hurt Report that analyzed accident data between 1976 and 1981 found that 92% of riders in accidents had no formal training, and interviewed riders generally did not take responsibility for their errors, or even realize that the accidents could have been avoided. It recommended that: “Motorcycle Rider Course of the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) should be the prerequisite (or at least co-requisite) of licensing and use of a motorcycle in traffic.” But in our case, we provide motorcycle/scooter to our young boys and girls under the pretext that they have to go to the tuition classes and these bikes would save their time and energy and do not bother to think about the repercussions that are always unpleasant. Even the traffic department shows inability in controlling this menace.
In Europe, too, mandatory motorcycle training, known as Compulsory Basic Training, is common. Schools and organisations provide training to beginners and refresher courses for experienced riders. The United Kingdom has several organisations dedicated to improving motorcycle safety by providing advanced rider training over and above what is necessary to pass the basic motorcycle test. These include the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA).
In India, particularly J&K, the rules are much simpler and bikes are classified only as geared and ungeared for the purpose of licensing. Still in Srinagar more than100 people were found riding without a license recently. None of the city’s licensing centres have a riding track, and awareness campaigns about two wheeler’s safety are restricted to strapping helmets and following traffic rules which are only on paper and practically nothing more than excuse? As parents we cannot be absolved of the responsibility, we should not allow our wards to ride these motorcycles or purchase the same for them without proper training; above all never allow them to drive without driving licences. The traffic department has also to gear up with whatever resources they have at their disposal, and exhibit sense of responsibility in order to save our youth from further casualties. The eternal cynic, I already believe it's too late. And perhaps the only thing to do is to apply lignocaine all over our bodies and accept the new reality.
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Lastupdate on : Sun, 15 Jul 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 15 Jul 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 16 Jul 2012 00:00:00 IST
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