ON THE WRONG SIDE – Drivers take the easy way out at RTO chowk

Daily travel has become risky for 45-year-old Habib Shaikh, who travels every day on Raja Bahadur Mill Road from RTO chowk to reach his office.

Rampant violation of traffic rules in the area scares him, Shaikh said, adding that bikers not only travel on the wrong side towards the RTO chowk but also drive at high speeds.

Like Shaikh, many daily commuters have pointed out that traffic rules have gone for a toss and wrong-side driving is the biggest menace near the regional transport office, located right under the nose of the traffic police personnel. Chandrakant Fulare, a regular traveller in the area, said traffic has become a complete mess. With little fear of being hauled up by the police, violations are increasing by the day , he said.

“Bikers ride on the wrong side to avoid a detour to take a Uturn. The Raja Bahadur Mill Road does not have a opening in the median till Pune station. Bikers therefore have to travel all the way till the station and then take a U-turn. To avoid this long detour, riders drive on the wrong side. They occupy the extreme left lane, thereby disturbing traffic flow,“ Fulare said.

Considered one of the busiest chowks in the city , the RTO chowk witnesses heavy traffic of bikes, cars and heavy vehicles through the day as it connects the city areas to Pune sta tion and further to Ahmednagar Road, while in the opposite direction, the traffic flows towards Mumbai. The road has two lanes on each side, but the lane on the RTO side is chockfull of traffic violators, especially wrong-side drivers.

Commuters say the chowk needs more police personnel to nab wrong-side drivers, and the traffic department must increase fines. “The chowk is big and can’t be managed by just one or two constables. There should at least two constables in every corner,“ said Amey Kale, a regular visitor to the RTO office.

A constable attached to the traffic division said students and employees of commercial offices were the largest violators. “We always appeal to students to not break the law and to avoid wrong-side driving, but in vain. Many times, they come up with flimsy excuses like their bikes have run out of fuel to defend themselves,“ the constable added.

Source : TOI