Mumbai: Cyclists are not satisfied with the perfunctory modification of the drain grill near Kemps Corner where an avid cyclist Premal Vashani met with an accident on May 1. The wheel of Vashani’s bicycle got stuck in the grill, resulting in a serious fall and injuries to his face.
As reported by the Free Press Journal, the drain grills have been set in the flow of the traffic, making it easy for narrow wheels of professional carbon-bodied bicycles to get stuck in them. The BMC had claimed fixing the grill by welding a strip to narrow the gap at the accident spot but cyclists demonstrated through photos how it’s still wide enough to cause accidents.
Cyclists question iron grill drains' design across the city
On Friday, a group of cyclists also shared pictures of various spots across the city where iron grill drains are laid in the direction of the traffic. They questioned the design and suggested horizontal modification so that they don’t pose any risk.
Vashani pointed out how the grill on the accident site was modified on one side only and not on the side towards the pavement. “One may not go that side but cyclists normally try to squeeze from the left-most end to avoid traffic. Why can’t there be a mesh on all such drains? I had a good quality helmet so I was saved,” he added.
Tweeting photographs, another cyclist Amrish Vora posted that a wheel tube goes into the drain without the rider. With the weight of the rider, it may get stuck badly and anything can happen in that situation, he said. “Why are you creating such a dangerous situation?” he asked the BMC.
Cyclist Nihar Mehta, a resident of Juhu, who in November 2022 suffered a serious fall and was out of action for over a month with a neck fracture said that it is not just the grills but also the gap between expansion joints that need to be taken care of. “After the road was made, I went to the Amar Mahal junction flyover. There is one spot where the joint is not sealed that I did not realise. My cycle got stuck and I fell on my face. I bled from my nose and the jerk caused a hairline fracture to my neck,” he said, adding that ever since he cycles with a group and not alone.
Ravi Agarwal, another cyclist who has been taking up safety issues with the BMC, said they have been responding to the spots that are pointed out but it is still not in the policy decision. “There were similar grills near Chowpatty. I brought it to their notice and they made it horizontal. The assistant municipal commissioner said the road contractor designs it to facilitate cleaning. Near Lilavati, they have just paved the road and some grills are placed vertically with wide gaps. Same is the case at SCLR,” said Agarwal who plans to list such spots.
“There seems to be some gap"
When FPJ contacted, additional municipal commissioner (projects) P Velrasu said, “There seems to be some gap. We will look into it.” When asked about the policy, he said, “We will look into the issue and decide further course of action.”
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