The potholes on the city's roads went from a mere nuisance to a death trap a couple of days ago, when a biker lost her life after crashing into a crater and being run over by a truck.
Every monsoon we see accidents, some hugely tragic like this one and others involving horrendous injuries. It is time to stop passing the buck and start taking the pothole issue seriously. Citizens and authorities cannot just sit back and claim that this is an inevitable problem that cannot be helped. This incident should push us to redouble our efforts to ensure smoother roads, along with stricter punishment and heavy fines for errant contractors who do shoddy work.
Drivers too must employ caution. This is not to suggest that the dead biker was to blame, but speed can be a killer in this season. Drivers need to cut down their speed drastically and adopt a go-slow policy. At least then, in the event of a mishap, you can hit the brakes and avoid the worst-case scenario.
Even if you do not see a pothole in time, if you go slow, the danger is not as great. Mumbai's roads are no Formula One track, and they are the worse for wear in the monsoon.
It is now time for different agencies to stop the all too familiar dance of passing the buck when it comes to pothole-related accidents. The common man does not care who is responsible for a road. His only interest is that it is maintained and that he has a hassle-free ride.
Instead of hitting back at citizens who make fun of the state of our roads, it's best if the authorities just get to work. The public is now weary and angry at the constant breakdown of roads and the litany of excuses trotted out. Every agency needs to speak and act as one to solve this problem, before it claims any more lives.
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