Mumbai: Information Reports Filed In Mahim After Tragic Death Of Avtar Saini In Crash

Mumbai: Information Reports Filed In Mahim After Tragic Death Of Avtar Saini In Crash

On Tuesday, an information report was filed with Mahim police about speeding motor vehicles on Worli Sea Face, a popular spot for morning joggers.

Urvi MahajaniUpdated: Friday, March 08, 2024, 07:52 AM IST
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FPJ

Mumbai’s cyclists are seeking information about the deployment of police patrol vans on Worli Sea Face to curb speeding vehicles following the tragic death of a morning jogger in March 2023.

The city’s vibrant cycling community, distressed after the death of their member Avtar Saini who was struck by a speeding car while cycling on Palm Beach Road in Navi Mumbai on February 28, have asked the authorities to control speeding on roads to make it safer for cyclists and pedestrians.

Information Report Filed With Mumbai Police

On Tuesday, an information report was filed with Mahim police about speeding motor vehicles on Worli Sea Face, a popular spot for morning joggers. “Prevent over speeding by motor vehicles from 5am to 7am to prevent accidents of pedestrians and cyclists given the recent death of cyclist Avtar Saini. One police vehicle with flashing red-blue lights used to be present last year, which was a warning deterrent to over speeding vehicles. Nowadays we do not see any police presence at 5am,” said the report filed by Ashish Sawant, member of Mumbai Cycling Enthusiasts.

Cyclists Decide To Meet CM, Police & Municipal Commissioners

Cyclists are planning to meet the state chief minister, police and municipal commissioners and other policy makers to demand safer road conditions. On March 15, they have a gathering near Mantralaya. A post on social media by cyclist Chetan Shah, said, “The entire country’s cycling community is pained and shocked about the tragic death of Avtar Saini, a former Intel India head and a passionate cyclist…This is our chance to make our voices heard and to make the death of Avtar Saini and other victims count. We need to urge the authorities to take action to improve the infrastructure, enforcement, and awareness of cycling safety. In short, plan and implement a holistic set of measures to make a difference on Indian roads.”

Shah added that Saini’s death is a reminder of the dangers cyclists face on the roads.

Speeding vehicle Biggest Threat To Pedestrians, Claims Cyclists

According to cyclists, speeding motor-vehicles are the biggest threats that pedestrians and cyclists face. Sawant, a sailor, who filed the report with Mahim police, said that he has observed that one out of every 100 vehicles on Mumbai roads exceed a speed of 100km per hour, especially on multiple-lane roads like Palm Beach Road and the Eastern and Western Express Highways. “Cyclists use lights to mark themselves on the road, but if vehicles are travelling at over 100km an hour there is nothing they can do. Over speeding is something that authorities have to tackle,” said Sawant who was an eye-witness to the accident on March 19, 2023, that killed Rajalakshmi Ramkrishnan, the 58-year-old head of a technology firm and a regular runner, while she was jogging near Worli Sea Face. The impact of the speeding car was so forceful that Rajalakshmi was thrown 20-feet away on the road and was killed instantly, recollected Sawant.

“After that accident, I was called by senior police officials and they decided to deploy a vehicle with flashing lights as a deterrent against speeding vehicles. This has been discontinued,” said Sawant.

Speeding Needs To Be Tackled, Says Bicycle Mayor

Firoza Dadan, designated as Mumbai’s ‘Bicycle Mayor’ by BYCS – a non-profit organisation based in Amsterdam, said, “We are sharing roads with motorists and pedestrians and road infrastructure is not good. There are potholes and pedestrians walk on the vehicle lanes because there are no footpaths. Creating cycle paths on roads will take time. Speeding is something that needs to be tackled. Heavy fines are important,” said Dadan.

Dedicated Lanes On Mumbai Roads

Other cyclists said that creating barricaded cycling and pedestrian lanes, at least on newly developed roads, will save lives. Dharmendra Sachan, a banking professional from Grant Road and an avid cyclist, said that road planners in Mumbai have ignored pedestrians and cyclists. “For instance, Palm Beach Road is entirely laid for motorists. The government should make informed decisions on creating infrastructure for cyclists. Projects like the Bandra-Kurla Complex cycling lanes have fizzled out because they were not planned well,” said Sachan, who rides with a prosthetic left leg.

Better Quality Of Living For Pedestrians, Claims Another

Sawant said that cycling-friendly cities like Amsterdam have restricted vehicle speeds on most city roads to 30km per hour to make them safer. “Creating better infrastructure for private cars is not the best way towards becoming a developed nation, city, or society. What India and Mumbai need is better quality of living for pedestrians and cyclists,” he said.

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