Mumbai: Cyclists Raise Alarm Over 'Death-Trap' Drain Grills On New T1 To Bandra Flyover, Cite Safety Concerns

Mumbai: Cyclists Raise Alarm Over 'Death-Trap' Drain Grills On New T1 To Bandra Flyover, Cite Safety Concerns

Cyclists said that despite promises of making Mumbai's roads conducive and safer for cyclists, road designs continue to ignore their needs.

Manoj RamakrishnanUpdated: Tuesday, March 12, 2024, 12:07 AM IST
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Cyclists have pointed out 'death-trap' drain grills on the new flyover on the Western Express Highway, linking Mumbai’s T1 terminal with Bandra, which was inaugurated last week.

Cyclists warn about grills in new flyover

Cyclists groups have warned members about the grills, saying that bicycle wheels can get caught in these grills. One group, the Mumbai Cycling Enthusiasts' have cautioned members to watch out, especially in the morning when the city’s relatively less-congested roads attract cycle riders. One member of the Mumbai Cycling Enthusiasts, Shane Albuquerque, put out a message on X, saying: "Newly inaugurated airport flyover. Southbound ramps have 2 'deathtrap' grill covers. Major blunder. Please be careful on early morning rides. Why can’t we plan bridges with cyclists in mind."

Another cyclist put out a dark message, pointing out the white cloth and flowers from the bridge’s inauguration ceremony littering the road lanes. 'Probably the government has left funeral flowers and white cloth on the road....'

Road designs continue to ignore cyclists' needs

Cyclists said that despite promises of making Mumbai's roads conducive and safer for cyclists, road designs continue to ignore their needs. In May 2023, after a cyclist was injured in a severe fall after his bicycle wheel got stuck in the drain grill in Kemps Corner, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) promised to fix the flaw in the design.

After the accident, the Free Press Journal had reported that the rails on the drain grills were set in the direction of the traffic flow, making it easy for the narrow wheels of bicycles to get lodged between the railings. After the accident, the BMC fixed the dangerous grill with a welded metal strip to narrow the gap between grills. Cyclists were not impressed at the perfunctory modification, pointing out that the gaps between the grills were still wide enough to trap bicycle wheels.

"Grills are in the middle of the road"

Albuquerque said that there are similar drain grills across city roads. "I live in Andheri and there are such grills on the road below the Versova Metro station. The grills are in the middle of the road, so you cannot avoid them," said Albuquerque.

Cyclists said there are such hazardous drain grills at roads in Bandra Reclamation, Powai, Santa Cruz, and other places. Premal Vashani, the Vile Parle resident who was injured in last year’s accident at Kemps Corner, said, “The most stupid thing to do is to have the bars on the grills parallel to the direction of traffic. Installing the grills in such a way that the bars are perpendicular to the traffic is the simplest thing to do. Regular cyclists like me are familiar with the roads and we know the dangerous stretches, but newer riders can have an accident,” said Vashani who added that his injuries were not major because he was wearing a helmet.

Chetan Shah, president of the Mumbai Cycling Enthusiasts, said he has written to the municipal corporation and other government authorities to draw their attention to features on the streets that can be dangerous to cyclists. “Every time there is an accident the BMC comes and checks. Unless there is a SOP “(Standard Operating Procedure), accidents will happen because the guys on site will put up the grills in the way they think is right. The SOP needs to be incorporated into the designing of roads,” said Shah. 

Officials from the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MHADA), which has built the flyover, were not available for a comment.

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