Long road ahead
The number of traffic accidents occurring during the festival of Dashain was significantly down this year as compared to the same period last year. This corresponds with the yearly fall in number of road accidents in the capital. In the week Oct. 5-11, 65 road accidents were reported in Kathmandu Valley, which resulted in five deaths, 23 serious injuries and 84 minor ones. Notably, half of all road accidents in the country happen in Kathmandu Valley alone, of which the majority can be attributed to reckless driving and driving under the influence of alcohol.
Unsurprisingly, most of the accidents in Kathmandu take place in and around Bouddha, Chabahil, Gongabu, Jawalakhel and Maharajgunj - all perpetual traffic nightmares. Narrow roads, haphazard parking, the ever-growing number of vehicles only compound the crisis. Besides, Kathmandu is woefully short in traffic infrastructure like sidewalks, zebra crossings and flyovers. It is distressing that despite intensive effort of traffic authorities and volunteers, traffic awareness among Valley denizens remains dismal. Moreover, the failure of government to punish violators has resulted in more and more people disobeying traffic rules. In recent times, KMC’s failure to maintain vital existing infrastructure like traffic lights has also been glaring.