May 25, 2016 12:20:06 am
A CITY, where two-wheelers whizz past every possible road, safety of pedestrians and commuters, management of roads and enforcement of rules laid out under the Motor Vehicle Act should perhaps be on the top agenda of both the civic bodies and the Traffic Police.
However, yet again, the Pune Traffic Police have thrown accident figures that indicate a lot needs to be done to build awareness on road safety, especially among two-wheeler riders, in Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad.
Figures show that as many as 68 “helmet-less” two-wheeler riders were killed and 140 seriously injured in accidents during the period January- April this year in Pune city and Pimpri-Chinchwad. As many as 35 of them belonged to the age group 18-35 years. Ironically, this figure of deaths is not too different from the previous two years–reflecting on how very little has been done by the two civic bodies and the Traffic Police to take stock of the situation–a fact that has been repeatedly highlighted by the Pune Newsline over the years.
While 68 two-wheeler riders were reported dead from January 1 to April 30 this year, in 2015, 72 deaths were reported and in 2014, 71 deaths had occurred. Every year, around 240 deaths are reported from the jurisdiction of Pune Municipal Corporation, Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation, Khadki and Dehu Road cantonment areas. In the 68 cases, the deaths have occurred on the spot or while the victim was being taken to hospital, police said.
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Police said, this year, the maximum cases of serious injuries—140—many slipping into coma, have been reported in comparison to previous years. In 2015, 112 two-wheeler riders were seriously injured during the same period.
By serious injuries, police said, they mean those who have suffered head injuries or multiple injuries that can be fatal. “Several of the seriously injured have died within a few days of the accident but the relatives seldom file a police complaint and therefore, they are unregistered deaths,” said a police official.
Civic activists said this only indicates that the actual figure of deaths of two-wheeler rider is much higher than what is available with the Traffic Police.
Despite constant campaigns urging two-wheeler riders to wear helmets, it seems to be failing in building awareness among riders. For, the figures indicate that this year, 68 people who died didn’t wear helmets while riding bikes and lost their lives. This highlights the fact that the civic bodies and the Traffic Police have collectively failed in enforcing basic road safety guidelines. “The deaths occur due to severe head injuries, multiple injuries that are fatal or if the vehicle has run over the victim,” officials said.
An analysis of the deaths by traffic police department showed that at least 40 of two-wheeler riders died after being hit by a heavy vehicle, a car, a tempo or a PMPML bus. There are three deaths in which the two-wheeler riders skidded due to slippery condition of road and also three deaths have occurred after two-wheeler hit a road side pole. Three deaths have been reported after the two-wheeler riders have run into a pothole. The Traffic Police said they were still analysing the deaths and would be in a position to reveal facts only after a few days.
When Pune Newsline approached hospitals to find out the number of two-wheeler riders undergoing treatment after mishaps, at least at two hospitals, doctors revealed that 12 patients had slipped into coma due to severe head injuries. Doctors at the Aditya Birla Memorial Hospital in Chinchwad said in last four months around 80 injured two-wheeler riders were admitted by them. Of these, 37 were in critical state and 37 had suffered head injuries. Of the 80 patients, 8 had slipped into coma. “Three of them are still in coma while others have come out of it,” doctors said.
At Max Neuro hospital in Dapodi, Dr Umesh Phalke said in past four months, they have received 150 patients who were injured in two-wheeler accidents. Of these, four had slipped into coma and had come out of it after a long time. Three were youngsters while one was a 52-year-old—all residents of Pune city, Pimpri-Chinchwad and rural parts of Pune district. “We mostly get patients who have suffered head injuries. We have more than 50 per cent patients with head injuries,” he said. Reacting to this, civic activists claim if only two hospitals show figures such as this, the collective figure across hospitals in the area would be substantial.
A private hospital in Pimpri-Chinchwad has one 56-year-old patient from Narayangaon who has been undergoing treatment for head injury for 8 months. The woman was a pillion rider when she suddenly fell from the bike and suffered a head injury. For some time, she was in coma but has now come out of it. This incident shows how important it is for even a pillion riders to wear a helmet, said Traffic Police.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (traffic) Pravin Munde, who has recently taken over, said enforcing helmet norm would remain high on his agenda. “Even the Police Commissioner, Rashmi Shukla, had stressed upon the importance of enforcing the helmet norm by building awareness campaigns,” said Munde.
Meanwhile, Sassoon Hospital Dean Dr Ajay Chandanwale said, “What we have observed is that accidents are more common during evening hours . Most of the accidents occur as two-wheeler riders fail to spot a speed-breaker or a pothole. It is, therefore, important that the speed-breakers are marked properly.”
Manav Kamble of Nagari Haqq Samiti said though the Central government last month had issued directives to local civic bodies to remove all abnormal sized speed-breakers and replace them with rumble strips, civic bodies are seem to be sitting duck on the issue. “Despite the government directives, both Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad civic bodies have been slow to react,” he said.
When contacted, Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Commissioner Dinesh Waghmare said,”I am new to the job and hence, would consult DCP traffic about putting rumble strips across the city.”
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