You might have seen several videos from across the world on the internet and social media where traffic stops just to let the animals cross the road. Well, we are far from reaching that level of sophistication and concern for animals, as we don’t even care for the human beings following the traffic rules and love breaching the law as if it’s some sort of a triumphant achievement for us.
As the days morph by, traffic conditions in Karachi are worsening; people are going from bad to worse and are losing their patience at other people. A few years back bike riders used to consider the condition of car and did their best to try and avoid causing the damage to that new vehicle. Now, things have become inhumane, as 2-wheel riders of today never analyze the effect of their wrongdoings on other, or perhaps their brain has stupefied.
The change in public’s attitude is calling for the strengthening of the license issuance system or at least as a short-term measure, some serious action by the police over the growing number and increasingly becoming abominable kind of antics.
The license issuance system should be centered on the reactions of driver to the situations that is to say he must be judged based on a comparison between his response and a generally accepted practice of acting to that particular situation.
Perhaps this would mean that excluding 0.5% of bike riders, rest are going to fail for sure because, they feel pleasure in:
- Coming on the wrong side, not even considered wrong by most. Yell at them and they shall look at you as though you are mad or make you feel ashamed of yourself. The belligerence!
- Instead of waiting for the light to turn green, riders pick up the bike, haul it over the divider between lanes and on to the other track, then race through that side. Foolishness! This kind of recklessness cannot be expected from a sane human being.
- Cut into the lane just like a fly being swept off by a hand, stupidity, bike is not small and has a footprint almost as wide as a car’s wheelbase, and as such needs to be maneuvered while taking care of the trailing rear as well.
As per current rules stated in the book published by the city police, yes! there is a book, are you surprised? Anyways, the law states that each vehicle while speeding over a 50 km speed, needs to maintain a distance equivalent of 3 to 7 seven meters while trailing the vehicle in front. In reality, the bike riders just worm in through even foot long space rather like a real devil does in Namaz, fitting in the gaps between a saff (row).
- Broken lights/ not using specified hand signals for making a sharp brake. I doubt that most of the readers are even aware about this symbol-U-turn, left or right and so on is a surety for failing this test. I remember my brother taking test; it was rush hour and an aged and educated police official was testing him. My brother clipped in his seat belt, turned on the indicator and was just adjusting rear view mirror when the officer shouted pass and told him to go and park the vehicle a little ahead on the road.
- The bike riders owners feel immense satisfaction in keeping their head lights switched off, or are least concerned about keeping them in operational & effective condition.
- Whoosh by or through a public place/ crowded with living beings these places include service lanes, hospitals, schools, Masajids, funeral places and the list goes on, I guess you get the point. Riders are not supposed to speed over 10 km and yet bikes often just wheel over this rule and race through.
Fun fact: If the AEB (Autonomous Emergency Braking which has become a mandatory safety feature in most markets) came installed in the vehicles then, for the first few months people would be just hurtling over the handles of their vehicles because whether you liked it or not, the vehicle would stop of its own accord.
- They often try and snake in between the heavy vehicles, I guess you all might recall a biker that was run over near Ayesha Manzil roundabout by truck carrying cement. Did anyone realize that the buffoon riding bike had side stepped this truck a few minutes ago, as a result its brake rod snapped and consequently the driver could not stop on the red light and just rammed into the baldy, splattering him on the road. I call him baldy because brain dead should have known that when a 40 ton truck brakes suddenly, instead of halting it’s suspension, already groaning under weight, shall just crack off hence the rule about staying off heavy vehicles 3 meters around (all four sides).
- Overtake a bus or a school van on left side is a crime and I think that readers would obviously fathom why that is so? Passengers are alighting and they are busy balancing themselves while negotiating through a crowded bus for that reason their position renders them unable to look behind hence, accidents are a common sight.
- Horn has become a norm of good driving in Pakistan whereas as per our rule book and elsewhere in the rest of the world it is considered a swear word. The bikers’ habit is to just honk and pass by, they neither care about hitting other people nor, even notice that the stupid bike handles just touched a pedestrian, surely, such driving is going to fail them miserably.
- Road sign recognition must be a pain once things fall into place and license test is made more stringent because bike riders hardly interpret traffic signal changing lights. What is then a chance that they swept by the red-lined white colored traffic symbol without realizing what it was? Normally, they are too busy to remain stiff-necked to look around and access the situation.
The change in the way the applicants are going to be judged on their response to situation is going to help increase traffic polices’ earnings, as the applicants are going to fail, they are going to have to pay the fees every time they take a test.
And since 90% people belong to the group who do not even know about the existence of city police’s traffic rule-book, so it is highly probable that people are going to fail several times before they could actually lay their hands on a license. Such kind of test is also going to reduce traffic flow at the same time as well, as half the people would be lined up for license acquisition.
It is really sad that everywhere in the world license is issued after ardent testing of the applicant but in the Pakistan you can either have it made by using a source or just cough up money into the outstretched hands of the officer (ironically). That is why Pakistani license is considered in-valid when you go to live abroad and opt for a permit, which is a pity as it does not even stir any kind of shame within our blacked-out hearts.
The uplifting of the license issuing mechanism and to educate the drivers, specially bike riders to follow traffic rules and ethics is a dire need of today and should be the top priority of the concerned authorities.
by Khurram Memon from Karachi