An alleged negligent pedestrian, who jaywalked across a road in Hyderabad's Jubilee Hills area, on Thursday, has left a software engineer battling for his life.
Ratna Prakash, an IBM employee in the city, was on his way from Amberpet to Madhapur at around 2:30 pm, when a pedestrian darted out on to the road and crossed his path.
"He was riding near Road No 45, Jubilee Hills when a pedestrian attempted to cross the road. As he was riding fast and applied his disc brakes, the bike skid and his head hit the divider," Jubilee Hills police sub-inspector Maqsood Ali told TNM.
Luckily for Prakash, Jubilee Hills excise police station inspector Kanaka Durga was passing by and immediately hailed an auto and shifted to a hospital, instead of waiting for an ambulance.
"The inspector informed us about the accident and we immediately deputed a patrolling police officer to rush to the hospital, so the patient could get admitted," SI Maqsood Ali added.
While Prakash may have received timely help thanks to the police, his condition is still extremely critical. He has fractured his skull at multiple places after his head hit the divider.
"The patient is in the Neuro-ICU and is on a ventilator. His condition is still critical. He suffered facial injury and fractures to his face. He also suffered a skull fracture. Besides that, his right arm was also fractured," authorities from the hospital told TNM.
"A brain decompression surgery was conducted on Thursday, and they will do an arm surgery later. He is presently being monitored," authorities added.
Despite leaving a person grievously injured, the pedestrian who crossed the road escaped scot-free.
"Eye-witnesses said that the person had walked away after the accident, and therefore, could not be identified," Maqsood Ali said.
It was in February this year, that Hyderabad was shocked by the attitude of a jaywalking woman, who caused a serious accident, and walked away from the site.
The incident which was recorded on a CCTV camera was widely shared on social media and shows a woman walking straight across the road, unconcerned about approaching traffic.
As an auto-rickshaw gets really close to her, the driver swerves and ends up hitting a bike, before the vehicle does an entire flip and smashes on to the road.
The woman is seen walking away from the accident site. The incident had triggered outrage on social media. Watch the video below.
Jaywalking is a serious problem in Hyderabad, that has yet to be addressed in the city.
The Hyderabad Traffic Police's statistics shows that 38% of the accident victims in the city until July 31 this year, were pedestrians.
Despite this, the Hyderabad police have no law in place, like the Bengaluru police, that is known to arrest jaywalkers from time to time, and produce them in front of a local court to dissuade the practice.
Experts say that the need of the hour is not more laws, but rather an enforcement of current rules.
"There is an amendment to the Motor Vehicle Act 2016, which is yet to pass in the Rajya Sabha, which is considering imposing a fine on pedestrians (including jaywalkers) on charges of 'misusing the road'. However, we need much more than that to bring about change," says Vinod K Kanumala, from the Indian Federation of Road Safety.
Vinod's NGO has been conducting awareness campaigns and street plays in important junctions of the city like LB Nagar, Punjagutta and Ameerpet, teaching pedestrians when and where they should cross the road.
"We have been doing it for the last two to three years, but the main issue is the attitude and behaviour of both drivers and pedestrians not just in Hyderabad, but all over India, and this is the main thing that has to change," he says.
"Additionally, there should be proper enforcement. There are several acts and law in our country at the Central level and the state level, but they are not enforced properly, which leads to such situations," he adds.
The problem of jaywalking arises also because the roads are not pedestrian-friendly, with footpaths often encroached upon and a lack of crossings and foot overbridges.