No one cares and respect the public norms and behavior. Ignoring even the High Court’s order, motorcyclists use footpaths freely just to save their time. It is exceedingly deplorable for visually impaired, elderly people as well as schoolchildren pedestrians to have speedy motorcyclists coming from behind and zooming past them in a reckless and frightening manner.
KM Zabir and Aynun Nahar Siddiqua , Advocate Supreme Court of Bangladesh — filed two Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in August and October in 2011 on the basis of media reports on sufferings of people while moving in the city.
In an order on March 5, 2012, the HC asked the government to stop straying of vehicles, particularly motorcycles, on to footpaths and walkways to ensure free movement of people and safe operation of vehicles in the city.
Even with High Court directives for the authorities not to allow motorcycles or cars on footpaths, whatever the authorities have so far done has failed to produce any tangible results. The metropolitan police washed its hands of by setting up obstacles to stop motorcycles running on footpaths. These ‘obstacles’ has functionally posed challenges for pedestrians and people with physical disabilities.
Bikers are seen violating traffic rules, including running on the wrong lane and even on the footpath, without helmets and with two or more than two co-riders. Breaking traffic rules, they are not only becoming threat to pedestrians but also revealing their lives to threat. Bikers do not want to follow the rules and regulations as they know that they will get away somehow. Traffic safety has been a major concern for people and pedestrians are particularly vulnerable to road accidents. In 2015 World Health Organization published a report showing that 32 per cent of the people killed on the road in Bangladesh every year are pedestrians.
There is lack of law enforcement, effective monitoring and campaign to stop reckless biking and cycling. There are often media reports of traffic police personnel violating traffic rules. Large-scale traffic law violation, especially wrong lane driving, by high government officials, political leaders and influential quarters is also common. Such practice leaves a negative impact and adds to the rising public apathy towards laws.
However, in the past nine months of 2017 total of 307,787 cases were filed in connection with the violation of traffic rules, quoting from the statistics available with the Dhaka Metropolitan Police.
Though police were filing case regularly against traffic rule violators, in most of the cases the offenders got away through underhand dealing with some police members. Our traffic police strictly should put a stop to this dangerous and uncivil habit of motorbikers illegally riding on footpaths. Sometimes bikers who commit such kind of offences regularly, they should be arrested and jailed as well as their driving licenses must be canceled and registration papers must be confiscated.
Therefore, taking into consideration the government approved Bangladesh Road Transport Authority Bill 2017, allowing three (3) months punishment for riding motorbike on Footpath. However, an increased number of people now rely on motorcycles and bicycles to navigate their way through heavy city traffic congestion. It must also conduct awareness campaigns on traffic safety targeting motorcyclists and bicyclists. On the other hand the foot over bridge stairs, telephone poles, metal barriers for reckless motorcycle drivers, shops and bus stop shelters for pedestrians are highly required to minimize the menace.
Md. Mamonor Rashid is an Associate of CM & A besides that he is the Sub-Editor of BdLawNews.com (English Version) and the Regular Contributor of the Law & Public Page of The Bangladesh Today. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org