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Life on the streets

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- NILISHA TULADHAR

Nov 22, 2017-One day, I was riding my scooter down New Road and saw that the police officers stationed there to direct traffic seemed to be acting just like ordinary people. There are six zebra crossings from New Road Gate till Juddha Salik. The officers just stood there and watched as motor vehicles made U-turns anywhere and people parked their two-wheelers on the roadside. They remained calm and didn’t react when jaywalkers strolled across the road anywhere they liked without using the zebra crossing.

People were walking carelessly on the roads meant for automobiles. In this situation, a vehicle lightly hit a jaywalker and he fell down. First, the vehicle owner was accused of driving recklessly on such a busy road. The crowd watching the person lying on the ground became larger, and one of them said that the pedestrian had been careless.

Just then, a traffic police officer walked up to the spot to tell the motorist to pay compensation to the injured person. But if he had been there earlier, he could have prevented the incident from taking place. He could have changed the scenario by instructing motorists to drive slowly and pedestrians to use the zebra crossing. I asked myself how I would have reacted if I were in the place of the pedestrian, traffic police officer or driver. I later defended all three thinking that they might have had their own problems at that time. 

Last April, the Traffic Control Department issued a rule against blowing automobile horns to control noise pollution. Signs prohibiting the use of horns were placed at almost every main road. A few months after the no-horn rule, pedestrians were prohibited from crossing the roads carelessly. They had to use the zebra crossing or overhead bridge. It felt as if the city had started observing the traffic rules mentioned in the social studies book we used to study. Drivers and pedestrians were fined by the traffic police for breaking the rule, but people didn’t learn from mistakes. They blew the horn during traffic jams and crossed the road anywhere they wished until they were fined too. The new rules gave people hope that Nepal was gradually developing, but their effect lasted only a few weeks. Things returned to the usual chaos.

Last week, I was riding my scooter to college at seven in the morning. A young man crossed the main road at Jamal. He walked slowly, drowned in his own thoughts with earphones on. He didn’t care to look at the two scooters and three cars that had screeched to a stop before nearly hitting him. A traffic police officer was standing near the overhead bridge, looking at the scene with his hands in his pockets. Maybe it is going to take many years for order to come to the roads of Nepal.

Published: 22-11-2017 07:54

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