Sunday, 19 July 2009

Killer Roads

There’s an interesting story doing the rounds in China. A 74 year old man got so frustrated with drivers violating traffic rules that he stationed himself at a junction and started throwing bricks at cars that jumped the red lights. This story has led to an outpouring of support on the Internet – huge numbers of Chinese have supported what the man did.

I had posted before on road safety here. On this Saturday morning, when Typhoon Molave is raging outside and the wind is howling and rattling windows, the mood is one of how vulnerable man is. Hence this post again on taking road safety seriously.

India and China, lead the world on road deaths. The second most dangerous place in the world is the Indian road. The third most dangerous place in the world is the Chinese road. There are more deaths on the road than in the Iraq war. Than in Afghanistan. Than in Darfur. Than because of swine flu.

Why is it that perfectly reasonable people become monsters when they hit the road ? Refuse to wear seat belts. Refuse to wear a helmet . Drive like a maniac. I know that the male species often considers behaviour on the road as an expression of their manhood, but consider that if you are “Bobbitted”, there is not much use you can make of your machoism.

So a small call for sanity when you drive to work on Monday morning. Drive safely. You owe it to your near and loved ones.

And I am totally in support of the old man . He’s a hero.


A journey called Life said...

hail the old man, wish there were more of his kind..
beats me why people behave the way they do on roads..only complicating matters..or may be they are just used to that way of life

Hang said...

The old man was interviewed by many media in the past week. Actually, he was not throwing stones at those cars that jumped the red lights. He planned well and held fist-sized stone to hit the body of those cars. He explained that he wanted to avoid hurting those drivers.

He did well. Now the local traffic police in Lanzhou need to tackle the traffic safety issue seriously. The old man has triggered debates in many media (including CCTV) and has drawn attention to traffic safety.

thethoughtfultrain said...

It was good that the old man was wise and careful as Hang said. But if it was one of the people who exhibit road rage themselves throwing the stones, it would have brought the death higher up. I am sure with all the media frenzy going on now, actions would be taken to discipline the bad drivers.

Preeti Shenoy said...

Gosh--how angry he must have been to do what he did!
He did not accept--he tried to bring a change. I really do not approve of the way he did it, though.
Yes, road safety is an issue but he could have hurt innocents, no matter how 'careful' he was. You can't just take law into your own hands.
But yes--he has created a stir.
This post made a very interesting read.(as do most of your posts)

WagonR said...

Many a times I feel like to do the way old man has done (out of sheer frustation). In India and in particular the so called 'sillicon valley', educated men either driving two wheeeler or four wheeler viloates the traffic as if "to violate is their birth right". Discipline has to come from self and at times I feel that educating about traffic disciplines should be mandated at school so that the coming generation atleast have some basic appreciation about road disciplines.

Ramesh said...

@AJCL - Its all a question of discipline - see how it works in Singapore.

@Hang - Thanks for the corrections. Even the English media in China is full of this story and I can imagine how the cuverage must have been on the Chinese media & the internet. An overwhelming majority approve of what the man did.

@thoughtfultrain - People do do insane things with road rage - in South Africa, out comes a gun and shots are fired ! The man did what he did, because a pedestrian had been killed before by an errant driver and still nothing was done.

@Preeti - Thanks for the kind words. See above - a lady had been killed previsously at the place and still the police did not do much about drivers breaking the rules.

@ Wagon R - Caning, a la Singapore, is the only solution in India !

Preeti Shenoy said...

Ramesh, yes agreed that people might have been killed.Still i do not approve of taking law in one's own hands. "An eye for an eye will make the whole world blind."

Ramesh said...

Understand Preeti. Taking the law into your own hands is not on. But still ......

le embrouille blogueur said...

I have neve driven more than 15 minutes in India .. not because that is how long my patience lasts .. just that I would get too scared .. the need was not too much so I survived ... now when I visit ... I am worried to sit in the back seat .... but the way people behave in traffic is not only in India .. we see it in different forms all over the world .... it is very unsettling to other drivers .... support the cause but not the method of execution that the old man chose !!

Ajay said...

Respect!! - for the old man :) But I really think they should have something like the German Autobahn's everywhere - no speed limit highways. Would take a while to get to that level of infrastructure. Driving like a maniac through city streets, jeopardizing lives, is absolutely unjustified. Gurgaon is even worse where the cab-walas would decide to parallel park in the middle of the road and have a discussion on the T20 match last night.

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Ramesh said...

@blogueur - Really ? Only 15 mts ?? LOL. Respect the disapproval of what the old man did - quite a few feel that way although the majority is with him.

@Ajay - German autobahns can go only with German discipline ! The less said about behaviour on Indian roads the better - its a perfect example of how we we have , and want, anarchy in the name of freedom.

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