Woman dies after bus hits her scooter in JawalakhelThe incident highlights some major problems with the city’s traffic system, experts say.
A woman’s death in a traffic accident in Jawalakhel in mid-day on Monday has once again brought to the fore concerns regarding haphazard police checks and the city’s road safety issues.
A 23-year-old woman died on the spot after her scooter was hit by a bus (Ba2Kha 3574) in front of Jawalakhel ground at 1:40 pm as she allegedly tried to evade a regular traffic police check, according to police.
“It seems that she [the rider] was trying to evade a regular traffic check,” Senior Superintendent Kiran Bajracharya, chief of Metropolitan Traffic Police Range, Lalitpur, told the Post. “We found that she neither had a driving licence nor the vehicle’s blue book.”
The woman was rushed to the Jawalakhel-based Alka Hospital after she was hit by the bus, but was pronounced dead on arrival. A source at the hospital said the woman sustained injuries to her head.
Traffic experts point to several factors that are responsible for accidents in the city and suggest measures not to repeat such incidents in the future. “This is a misfortune. This clearly shows the faulty traffic checking mechanism which is not scientific,” said transport expert Ashish Gajurel.
“We often see traffic police carrying out their regular checks in the middle of the road. Most often, they do not place any signboard and stop vehicles any time they want, that’s risky,” said Gajurel.
Besides that, he also blamed the narrow road and driver’s negligence and sometimes disobedience to traffic rules. “But ultimately it’s traffic police that should maintain certain precautions before they carry out checks,” said Gajurel.
Metropolitan Traffic Police has set up 45 checkpoints across the Valley, and its record shows over 1.2 million vehicles ply the road of Kathmandu every day.
“These kinds of incidents seldom take place. But drivers and riders are also part of the problem,” said SP Shyam Krishna Adhikari, spokesperson for the Metropolitan Traffic Police Division. He said most often, riders and drivers try to evade traffic police checks.
“Police only charge Rs 500 to 1,000 but people like to run away,” said Adhikari, who admits some fault on the part of the traffic police. “A separate board should be placed before carrying out regular checks, but what can traffic police alone do when the road itself is congested?” said Adhikari.
But the members of the general public have been criticising the unruly behaviour of traffic police. “Whenever they find out that you don’t have a licence or a bluebook, they treat you as a criminal. They immediately seize your bike’s key and issue tickets,” said Sajan Adhikari, a bike rider.
“It’s human nature. Sometimes we may forget the document, but they never consider it, and you know the hassle one has to face once you are caught up,” said Adhikari, a residence of Sallaghari, Bhaktapur. He shared an experience of being humiliated by police when he forgot to carry the bluebook of his vehicle a month ago.
Traffic police have been facing criticism for resuming drunk-driving tests just after the months-long nationwide lockdown was lifted in the third week of July last year. Although the number of Covid-19 cases had not gone down, traffic police were found using breathalyzers to check if people were driving under the influence of alcohol.