DMP Commissioner Asaduzzaman Mia came up with some constructive ideas last week. One hopes these ideas will become a reality and not remain imprisoned in rhetoric. In his words, no bikers will be able to purchase fuel at filling stations if they do not use the helmets mandatory in vehicular movement. Besides, buses will not be permitted to stop at places other than officially designated stoppages to pick up and drop off passengers. Neither can people get aboard public transport and disembark at places of their own volition.
The points made by the DMP Commissioner should have become part of our lives years ago. Indeed, the chaos which has defined city streets for ages have largely been a result of the failure of the road traffic authorities to enforce the rules of the road. One could go on narrating the entire sad story of how drivers have with impunity been violating the rules and commuters have on their part not been very helpful either. A good part of the blame must also go to our traffic sergeants and constables, whose lenient attitude and indeed sense of utter ennui are often responsible for the confusion generated on the roads.
Now that the DMP Commissioner wants the rules of the road to be enforced, one needs to mention the critical necessity of educating traffic police personnel on road rules. In addition, the authorities should see to it that these personnel are not overworked, that their working hours are comfortable and that they are provided with the facilities which will help protect them from heat and rain. Much as we tend to condemn traffic constables for not doing their jobs to public satisfaction, we must not forget that they too are under much stress dealing with drivers, commuters and pedestrians unwilling to conform to regulations.
Where enforcing rules on the road is concerned, something more than denying fuel to bikers without helmets and prohibiting bus drivers from stopping at places other than stoppages is called for. And that has to do with pedestrians, most of whom deliberately avoid using the footbridges dotting the city and instead make a dash across the road when they wish to go over to the other side. The rules must come in here as well and applied rigorously. No pedestrians, other than elderly and frail ones, must be allowed to cross the road without using the overbridges.
The DMP Commissioner has also said that laguna vehicles will not ply on city roads. This decision is unfortunate. It will put innumerable drivers and helpers out of jobs, pushing their families into a crisis. It will also create problems for thousands of middle class and lower middle class people dependent on these lagunas for commuting. The DMP authorities should rethink this issue.