From January 2015 to October 31, 2019, Noida has recorded 4,933 cases of road accidents. Official data states that in these, 2,026 people have lost their lives. Not only this but a further 3,811 suffered injuries in the same, many of which were life-threatening. Last year alone, 964 road accidents were recorded in the Noida till October 31, 2019, in which 407 people lost their lives while 736 were injured. Out of all the deaths that took place, the majority of them were recorded on expressways. Road accidents along with traffic congestion and violation of traffic rules have remained one of the main concerns for this city bordering the National Capital since long.
Hospitals in the city say that around 60 per cent of the cases of road accidents have patients from two-wheelers. “We get 50 to 60 cases on an average every month. The mortality rate is 100 per cent in case riders do not wear helmets, about 50 per cent in case they wear low-quality helmets,” said Dr Ashutosh Niranjan, medical superintendent and surgeon at Sharda Hospital.
In June last year, the UP government had increased penalties for traffic violations such as driving a four-wheeler without wearing a seatbelt and riding a two-wheeler without a helmet. Noida Traffic Police data has shown that the number of challans issued for these two violations has come down during the second half of 2019. Transport Department officials shared the opinion and suggested “enforcement from within” as a possible measure to tackle challenges of road safety. “We carry out awareness campaigns in schools and colleges, we can inculcate habits of road safety in children and youngsters. There is a problem with the casual approach of grownups towards road safety,” Transport Officer (Enforcement) Himesh Tiwari said.
What is the solution then? According to experts, better infrastructure planning along with strict enforcement of rules is what is needed to solve Noida’s traffic problems. With a population of over 25 lakh residents, Noida has 7 lakh registered vehicles, which include four lakh two-wheelers, the enforcement needs to be done with the help of technology.
Residents believe that lack of proper road design, along with the less adherence to traffic rules mixed with ineffective public transport are the main reasons behind all this. “There is no safe movement allowed (separate lanes or markings) for pedestrians and cyclists. Inadequate traffic personnel and no strict lane driving measures in place,” said Vishnu Saini, a civil engineer involved in the construction of some key highways in India. Road calming measures such as rumble strips along with traffic blinkers are required at the entry and exit points of the expressway which is one of the most accident-prone areas.
Experts believe that the lack of planning in the city, which saw a massive increase in its population after 2000s with the rise in the number of high-rise buildings. The city currently has 30,000 people living in an area of 10,000. This puts extra pressure on the road network which was not designed for the future.
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