Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Wasting valuable space on Bangalore roads!

Is it true that we Bangaloreans don't want to waste anything, leave alone empty spaces on the road? Today being World Environment Day, that does sound very appropriate, but what I mean is our amazing interest in filling up all the empty spaces while trying to get ahead in the road!

Allow me to explain. I was crossing the Agara Tank Road junction just outside that godawful eating joint, Lemon Grass and there was a huge pile-up on the other side of the road...know why? Two reasons - the Jakkasandra bottleneck is a bottleneck of the truest sense, the wide road that can have 3 lanes on one side suddenly becomes ridiculously small for just one vehicle with a BMTC bus squeezing on the side! The second, more critical reason is the MASSIVE speed-breaker just before the Jakkasandra bottleneck that seems to be a knee-jerk reaction after an accident here some months back.

Now, the issue is that due to the recent rains, the road immediately after the speed-breaker - towards the left - has caved in and its almost akin to getting up on the massive speed-breaker (car-breaker?) and going down into a nice, stony pothole almost instantly. Not a nice thing to happen, I know. So, to avoid this piece of annoyance, people eventually make their way to the right of the speed-breaker much to the collective annoyance of everybody else behind them, who have been lawfully speeding on the extreme right. The fact that they do this with no indications whatsoever and only on the belief that the vehicle behind his values his material possession (in this case, car/ bike), more than the overtaker!

Back to our space saving....I was waiting here and find that vehicles of every shape and size just whiz in all directions and fill every single empty space all around me, creating the perfect vehicular sandwich possible by mankind. And, this collective being/ creature comprising of 2 bikes, 2 cars and a BMTC bus, with a auto in tow, starts moving in some column when some space clears in front.

Nice theory. Nice idea too. But the problem is towards Jakkasandra, as I had mentioned before, the road narrows to amazing widths that most of the brotherhood in this column have to let others go or make their way in the hope that others will let them go. So, my question....why fill such empty spaces in the first place? Is it because,
-a- you feel inadequate when you see such a space staring at you?
-b- you don't like to waste anything and are doing your bit to the wasted space on roads?
-c- you are not aware of the speeding right lane and its inhabitants' rights and decide that overtaking from the left is the best way to go about it.

There are some practical issues with any of these options. You are in the left and there's someone on your right, who has the right of way to move ahead. If you do not care about right of way, I'm sorry....just not worth wasting any more of your time. But if you do, the best way is to let the right-side guy pass in case the road narrows ahead. But, if you still wish to overtake the same way, please do so with some kind of indication.

Else, like this morning, both of you will be shoulder-to-shoulder for a considerable period of time. Then you extending the charade by making some extra space by retracting your rear view mirrors. And at the point when one of you has to let go, the person who cares least about his vehicle wins! The competitive ones usually go through till the last part of this charade...but others like myself, who value their peace of mind more than such trivial pursuits, will rather let the other person move ahead much before it all starts - just not worth any of this nonsense!

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