Letter from a Pedestrian
— Towards a safer road and a secure future.
Carelessness doesn’t bounce; it shatters.
Dear Driver of fancy vehicles, Government authorities and fellow Pavement-mates,
Hi. How are you? I am good, but I will be better if you read on and grant me some of my wishes. I am a poor soul who doesn’t own a vehicle. I need to walk in the pavements, cross the chaotic roads, brave the honking drivers racing their vehicles and reach my destination, without meeting any mishaps. Yeah, I just love the circus I need to perform on the roads! As you can see, I need to reach that place at a particular time, as well. My life is not only in my hand, it is also in yours. So… protect me and don’t make my family sad by losing me.
I can hear what you’re thinking in your mind. Why is she giving a big preamble? What is she coming to say? Well…
Roads aren’t supposed to be traps: Bangalore, one of the most developed cities in India, boasts more than hundreds of death-holes. Travelling in this road… it is scarier than riding a roller-coaster. The ups, downs, bumps… after you have crossed all of it successfully, you will be crowned as ‘alive-victor’ for a day. The next day, you may not be that lucky.
Dear Government authorities, we pay tax for fixing things like this, so that our everyday life will be a little bit better and safe. As we leave our home, we don’t have the wish to meet the Lord, soon. Or at least, we don’t want to meet the Lord in a bloody mess of broken bones, skulls etc. So… instead of taking care of your own desires, can you please put forth some efforts to make my life a little secure and fill these man-eating holes?
Lights are for lighting: I often notice the street lights standing there, a slender iron rod with a head and most of them never do their purpose. Why do they have to be on the sides of the roads, if they never work?
These lights that never lights, I think it is more a dangerous weapon than a helpful resource. What if I bump my head on them, because I can’t see and develop a concussion? What if someone collide their vehicles on it? Make sure every one of them works right.
Signals that stay dead is of no use: What’s the necessity of having a signal if they don’t work accurately? Yeah, I think you understand.
Red, Orange and Green lights are not just lights, they are source of life for people like us. Manage them and take care of them. If they don’t do things properly, what’s the need for them? Check them for the betterment of the road life.
Sidewalks are not for motorbikes: If you own a motorbike, please note this down – sidewalks are for people who walk by foot, like me; people who can’t buy and race in bikes. We don’t have many options and we can’t traipse on the road as we please – if I do so, I won’t last for long. So all we have is a pitiable, unconditioned pavements that are smaller than a strip of belt. We are already suffering, managing to walk on the place like a tightrope-walker, but…
why do you guys have to rip-off that meagre place from us? Why do you have to abandon the large stretch of highways, roads and have to poach in that tiny space, fighting with us? What do you suggest we have to do? Please, next time you wish to creep on the pavement, make sure you sell your motorbike. Let us walk together, if you so desire the sidewalks. Shall we?
Put your iPhone away: Of course, I know… your friend’s message is important and so is the call from your hubby/wifey/boyfriend/girlfriend, but if you tell them ‘I was driving’ or ‘I was crossing the busy road just a while ago’, I am sure they will understand. For them, your life is more important. Or if it is that urgent and you think you’ll die without attending the call or replying the message, make sure you stop – yourself or your vehicle – and do the rest.
Because… not only your life, but also our life depend on you, at the moment you are calling or replying. If it is not a big trouble, leave you mobile phone in your handbag or pocket while driving. Your happy chattering may become someone else’s sad news, if you don’t avoid the calls while driving.
Just a minute please: I understand that you’re rushing to do your work in the morning and rushing to meet your family after finishing the tiring job, but can you please spare me a moment? I don’t ask for any special privileges to let me cross, wherever and whenever I please. But… can you see that alternate black and white lines drawn across the road? Yes… them.
A zebra crossing typically gives extra rights of way to pedestrians– but dear vehicle owners, do you think it is true? Do you even care? That is supposed to benefit the pedestrians. So why don’t you slow down a while and stop for a minute and let us pass? Is that so much to ask? You never let me cross peacefully. Every time I cross, my heart is jumping in my throat and I wonder whether it is the last day of my life. I don’t ask for much. Just a minute is enough.
Headlights are not for show: Have you seen that two round objects on your cars or motorbikes? Yes, they aren’t an ornament to adorn your cars and bikes.
If the road is dark, switch them ON, so as to ensure that you don’t switch some other’s life OFF. You won’t lose many thing by doing so, but you may help someone in not losing their life. Think of it as your good deed of the day and help some unfortunate souls to have a happy family reunion, ok?
Stop at the Signals: Follow the traffic rules and follow the signals religiously. I hear some of you complaining about malfunctioning signal lights. Yes. That happens.
Signal is not working? No problem. Your brain is working alright, right? So, stop at the intersections and think twice, look twice before steering your car. Don’t drive your car to your death…
Don’t drink and drive: Alcoholics, please, take rest and clear your head before you drive your vehicles, or you might have to take rest under the ground.
If it is the only problem, it is okay, but because of you someone else’s papa, mama or child will die, as well. So please?! It is not that hard to do.
My dearest pavement-mates,
You guys are not really innocent, as well. You use your phones as you cross the road, making chaos to the drivers and creating a confusion on the roads. You don’t look to see whether the vehicles are stopping or not and just walk like the road is your private property. If you must answer the phone, stop on the side and attend the call. Don’t create a bigger mess for all the others.
If you have to cross the road, make sure the walk signal is on before crossing, or use zebra crossing. Don’t barge like an uninvited guest across the roads. You might become an uninvited guest in Death’s list.
And please, avoid chatting and having a laugh at the middle of the road. Well, the joke might be funnier and your head might burst if you don’t share them with your friends, but… Middle of the road – that is really not the right place to share the jokes you have just read in your mobile phone.
If you don’t wish to safeguard your life, okay. I don’t wish to argue with that point. You have the right to decide your own life or death. But… who are you to decide my life?
So… Stop. Look around. Help others and have a safe trip to your destination.
Don’t make your happy trip to be someone else’s sad trip.
Don’t make your first drive to be someone else’s last drive.
If you wish to be first in the road race, you have to be prepared to leave the world, first. So make way to the rude drivers. No one is going to give you a gold medal if you win the race with a manic driver. If you’re not careful, it might sometimes be the badge for your death certificate.
If safety is a joke, then death is the punchline. ~Paul Laforest
Don’t take safety for a joke! Your life is precious and so safeguard it.
PS: The Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., conducts the Nissan Safety Driving Forum (NSDF) in India as part of its safety driving promotion activities. The program began as an annual activity in 2012. In its initial phase it covered three main Indian cities – New Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai – and since then has gradually expanded to several additional cities across India.
Under its Blue Citizenship CSR umbrella, NSDF by Nissan works to build awareness of safe driving in India. NSDF encourages drivers and passengers to wear seatbelts, and participants learn through interactive activities the importance of wearing seatbelts.
PPS. IMAGE SOURCE >> From Google. The words in them are mine.