Sunday, January 14, 2018

Our Streets are Unsafe but can we avoid using them?

Our Streets are unsafe, but can we avoid using them?

Our streets are unsafe for all, especially pedestrians. If you are a senior citizen you are all the more vulnerable.  I include roads and highways when I say streets. The causes or conditions leading to rendering roads unsafe include our selves (human beings), animals and nature itself.

It is becoming extremely difficult to cross even inner streets of a residential area.  It is not just the irritating factor of heavy traffic making you wait for the traffic to subside but also irresponsible vehicle drivers. The other day I was crossing the road when traffic cleared but a bike fellow came in wrong direction and hit me.  Maintenance People cut electric or telephone poles and leave metal stub projections on the ground, which are dangerous for walkers. They trip and fall and break their hips. Residents allow thorny vegetation – bougainvillea for instance – to grow and obstruct walkers right at their eye level.

During rainy season, water flows like river on the streets. You don’t know if you will reach home safe or disappear in a watery grave in uncovered drainage manhole. During Shankranti you may get your throat or leg cut by manja thread. Or during Deepavali you may get hurt by crackers fired without care or caution. But these are seasonal for a day or two. Avoiding stepping on dogs’ shit is a tricky task during morning walk. Dogs prefer to poop in all parts of the street not just the pedestrian pathways. Dog owners have no responsibility or control over their pets. Mad street dogs may bite you too, choosing which part to bite on their own. Streets are dark during night due to non-working street lights and even a torch would not help as roads are uneven filled with debris and other obstructions.

The only way you can avoid trouble to yourself, as Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev says in a different context: Be hundred percent aware of the present. This applies even when you are a street walker.


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