In our daily lives when we are on the roads we often come across the site of Jaywalking. The Cambridge Dictionary definition of Jaywalk is put as – to walk across a street at a place where it is not allowed or without taking care to avoid the traffic. It is when we cross a street carelessly or in an illegal manner so as to be endangered by traffic. This sight is very common in my city of Kolkata as well.
Jaywalking continues to be a common cause of accidents in the city. The Telegraph has been doing a brilliant job in highlighting how commuters put their lives at risk. The pictures on the daily show the carelessness that is imbibed in people while they are on the roads. It’s our lives and its evident that we should take responsibility for the same. What’s unfortunate is that we always tend to blame the drivers for any kind of mishap.
If we try to understand the possible reasons for this habit, there are a number of things that need to be addressed.
- Footpath : We have all read in our schools about always taking the footpath while walking. But like every other chapter this was also limited to the syllabus. The presence of footpaths or the lack of it is something that contributes a lot towards jaywalking. The absence means that commuters have no option but to walk along the road. In case the footpath is present it may be found broken or occupied by vendors. The commuters are forced to take the road then.
- Foot Over Bridge/ Subways : Lack of FOB cause a major problem to commuters. Crossing the road in traffic chaos is a task pretty huge and unsafe. Wide and busy roads that are occupied by motors often have traffic snarls which make life difficult for pedestrians. A strong Foot Bridge or an underpass serves to be of great help.
- Buses that board passengers in the middle of the road : This tendency is followed very commonly and even I admit doing the same. Many times we are at the opposite side of the road and notice the bus which we plan to board coming from the other side. None of us want to miss that chance and wait for the next opportunity, we make a hurried attempt to board that bus. It’s important to keep a watch at the traffic signals and zebra crossings. It would never hurt to reach office a little late but would hurt a lot if we face any casualty.
- Vehicle Discipline : Some basic ethics that if followed by drivers can help address this problem in a great way. Trying to avoid change of lane while we are at the steering wheel is one of them. We also often halt our cars over zebra crossing unknowingly. These may seem to be small steps but are vital enough if we think about the bigger picture. One small act of ours showing our kindness and considerate nature can plant a seed for a wonderful world to be in. An adrenaline rush might force us to overtake the car ahead of us but it would show our strength if we are able to control that and drive responsibly.
- Avoid distractions : This may seem the most difficult of all. While technology has made our lives easier it has also made us it’s slave. People glued to their mobile screens or with earphones tucked into their ears while walking is a common sight everywhere. Talking on phones while driving can also be spotted frequently. We all should understand that these gadgets were made for our betterment but they are not worth putting our lives into risk. After all, we survived without them just 20 years back.
At the end of it, the most important factor is self-realization. If we get hurt, the pain is not only ours, it belongs to our family, our loved ones as well. Self awareness is necessary in such cases and everyone should be educated about road safety. Numerous campaigns are carried out almost everyday by school children and civic volunteers for this purpose. Few years back, Kolkata Police had released a video that contained CCTV footage of accidents that happened due to carelessness. The visuals itself were enough to jolt one’s inner senses. Still jaywalking is followed and people put their lives at risk. Life is precious. Nothing in the world could be more valuable.