Another accident along Sarjapur Road has led to the death of a 50-year-old Bengaluru resident on Saturday morning. Muniyappa, an employee at Axis Bank, was crossing the road near the Iblur Bus Stop at 10 am, when he was hit by a concrete mixer.
According to Suresh, the traffic police officer on the spot, the man died instantly after the concrete mixer him from behind. "The man's younger brother is a firefighter and the family had gathered around the spot. Within minutes hundreds of people began gathering near the accident spot and demanding justice," officer Suresh told TNM.
Traffic along Sarjapur Road has been blocked, which has resulted in a massive bottleneck along the Outer Ring Road as well. Commuters have been stranded along these two stretches for over two hours.
"Traffic has come to a stand still. There has not been any movement since the accident occurred. It all happened so quickly. When I got called in after the accident, we were supposed to shift the man's body to the hospital and clear the traffic. Suddenly commuters gathered around the accident spot and when they found out it was an accident, they became angry. Everyone started shouting and yelling about how the road is unsafe for pedestrians and they began demanding better roads and better traffic management," officer Suresh said.
When the protests turned chaotic around 11.20 am, traffic police resorted to a lathi charge to disperse the crowd. "They are still protesting here. We tried lathi charge. Some people went away but the protests are still on," he added.
This is not the first time a pedestrian has died along this stretch. A month ago, a 75-year-old man died in a hit-and-run accident along the same stretch. "Yesterday (Friday) was the one month anniversary of his death. He was hit by a BMTC bus last month. He died on the spot," says Diana, a resident of Iblur. Gangadhar Nair, who was on his way to Columbia Asia hospital, lost his life after being hit by the BMTC bus. Prior to that, 20-year-old Sunil Vishwakarma had been run over by another BMTC bus while he was waiting on road, as the footpath had been encroached.
Residents say that there is a severe dearth of pedestrian infrastructure such as footpaths, zebra crossings and skywalks on the busy road. "There are barely any traffic police deployed here despite the fact that it is a dangerous spot," Diana adds. Footpaths are encroached by parked vehicles, street vendors and construction debris. Vehicles violate traffic norms and on several occasions are seen driving on the wrong side of the road at high speeds, without care or concern for the safety of pedestrians. Drains are left uncovered for the unsuspecting pedestrian or even vehicle to fall into.
Residents say that crossing over from Iblur Lake towards Columbia Asia Hospital near at the Sarjapur Road junction is a death trap. The stretch is extremely risky as there are no pedestrian crossings. It becomes additionally difficult for the elderly and persons with disabilities to cross the road, Diana says.