Speed-breakers and India’s growth story

The speedbreaker applies to much more than just the road. The humble bump is a deeply entrenched part of our psyche. It is a metaphor for all things plaguing India.

MadinMumbai recently shared this with other BHPians.

It’s my firm belief that India will never break out of its 2nd gear growth potential unless we scrap the concept of ‘speedbreaker’. The speedbreaker applies to much more than just the road. The humble bump is a deeply entrenched part of our psyche. It is a metaphor for all things plaguing India. The authority we have handed over to random people to put speed blocks in our way extends far beyond the roads.

Take the example of Mumbai. I live in the suburbs where it is impossible to find 100 meters of straight stretch of road. In this environment, where cars are crawling anyway, we have a perpetual roadworks/underground cable/ water pipeline/ sewage works to ensure it, the residents feel compelled to put up speedbreakers every few meters. Petitions are made on WhatsApp groups to build more. I don’t know what the thinking is – is it to slow down already crawling traffic? Or is it display of power?

A few years ago I read that the High Court had ordered removal of speedbreakers. I don’t remember the exact reasons the mighty court took up such an insignificant subject for consideration, I suspect it had more to do with passage of Ganpati idols than concern for safety. We applauded, but didn’t contend with the metaphorical speedbreaker that would hit implementation of the order. Since then the court has lost interest in the subject, the local ward councillor has taken it upon himself to order more and more speedbreakers and our motorists have become positively Gandhian by presenting the other cheek.

If the problem were restricted to motorists one could be forgiven for ignoring their whining. Rich guys in expensive cars deserve a little speedbreaker love. Schadenfreude. But lately I have seen many runners tumble on unmarked speedbreakers that have come up overnight. Surely the runners don’t deserve the disdain, especially the barefoot ones who can’t be said to be wearing expensive Nike, we have for motorists.

So, the question is – how do we get out of this self inflicted circle of stupidity? How do we break free from the speedbreaker? Surely someone in government or legal system can be petitioned. Surely we can make them see the deep connection between our economic, social and physical existence and the omnipotent metaphorical speedbreaker.

Here’s what BHPian gkveda had to say on the matter:

Stupid laws are made for stupid people. But once law is implemented, everyone suffers.

I remember times in Bangalore, when there was no concept of speed breakers. We were kids of 10-12 years of age and our house was in corner of two main roads junction. Every 30 minutes, we used to hear tire screeching sounds and a street fight entertainment.

At least once in a week, we used to witness an accident. Both paths were BMTC Bus routes. So, most of the street fights and accidents used to involve BMTC Bus on one of the roads. The other road used to be bikes, autos, cars, cycles, matador vans and sometimes buses too.

The point I am trying to make is, every traveller on the road was almost a daily driver. Everyone knew there was a main road ahead. Almost everyone had witnessed these accidents that used to occur in the week. But still, nobody cared to slow down their vehicles while approaching the main road.

Finally, when Ramakrishna Hegde was CM, I remember, they put a big hump on one road to avoid these accidents.

Seeing the ordeal for more than 7-8 years and at least 100 accidents at the junction, I am 100% convinced, speed breakers will reduce accidents and currently are the only way to reduce accidents.

I still believe that it is a stupid initiative by the government to avoid accidents whenever I hop my vehicles every 100 metres. But, it is the evil result of thousands of stupid drivers who never realised their responsibilities when main roads were ahead. And there is no other way around to solve this issue.

Speed breakers are inevitable to the people in our country. But my humble dream and desire is, it needs to be scientific. Should not be laid as backbone breaking hammers that acts as business opportunities for Orthopaedicians.

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.


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