How safe are Delhi’s roads for pedestrians?

- December 23, 2023
| By : Tej Prakash bhardwaj |

A recent report by the Delhi Traffic Police highlights concerns over pedestrian safety, inadequate infrastructure, and identifies crash-prone zones, emphasising the urgent need for enhanced road safety measures in the capital

(Photo: Unsplash)

Delhi grapples with a distressing surge in road fatalities as the latest ‘Road Crash’ report by Delhi Traffic Police discloses a grim reality. In 2022, an average of four lives was lost each day, marking a substantial increase in accidents, fatalities, and injuries compared to the previous year.

The report highlights concerns over pedestrian safety, inadequate infrastructure, and identifies crash-prone zones, emphasising the urgent need for enhanced road safety measures in the capital.

Four people died on average every day on Delhi’s roads in 2022, according to the report for last year.

Compared with 2021, the number of accidents increased by 19.7 per cent, fatalities by 17.9 per cent, and injuries by 21.7 per cent, the report stated. A majority of these victims of road crashes were pedestrians. The report reveals some 629 pedestrians died in the city in road accidents. Among these 77 were just minors, the data by the Delhi traffic police revealed. This is followed by motocyclists with 552 deaths.

The report further revealed, pedestrian safety in the city is not the only concern but an increase in the hit-and-run cases has also been reported with 668 cases in 2022 compared to 555 in the previous year (2021).

“We ignore the pedestrians all together. For us, traffic means vehicles. Pedestrians and cyclists are ignored both at the policy level and while designing the infrastructure,” said Anurag Kulshrestha from TRAX Road Safety NGO and Indian Alliance of NGOs for Road Safety. He has been working on road safety of pedestrians since 2007.

In 2021, according to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), traffic crashes accounted for the highest proportion of fatalities, representing 43.7 per cent of the total deaths.

As per the World Health Organisation, at least one out of ten people killed on roads across the world is from India. More than half of these global road traffic deaths are amongst pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists, who are still too often neglected in road traffic system design, the report stated.

When asked on how infrastructure can be improved to ensure safety of pedestrians he answered, “Most of the accidents (involving pedestrians) happen due to low visibility and poor footpath infrastructure. The city barely has footpaths and even the ones that are there are encroached by shopkeepers or for planting trees by the government etc.”

These make walking on footpath difficult, leading to accidents. Another reason is the height of plants over the divider, which is more than the suggested 2.5 feet, often hindering visibility.

Blackshots around the the city

Talking about the hotspots, he said, “All the ring roads are the major hotspots for accidents.” There is little or no safety for pedestrians. he added.

As per the report, among the roads in Delhi, the top three fatal crash-prone roads were the Ring Road with 119 fatal crashes, Outer Ring Road with 102, and GTK Road with 65 fatal crashes. These fatal crashes took the lives of 122 people at the ring road, 104 at the Outer Ring road and 70 at the GTK road, the report revealed.

Notably, the Outer Ring Road, Ring Road, Rohtak Road, and GTK Road, were the most crash prone roads for pedestrians, collectively contributing to 194 crashes during the day and 189 crashes during the night.

Moreover, the report also identified 10 black spots around the city. These are the top 10 crash prone zone having the maximum number of fatal crashes. Around 29.90 per cent of the total fatalities occurred in the road-stretch at crash prone zones, which is about 60 km in length.

In the list of major crash hotspots, Mukarba Chowk emerged at the top with 12 fatalities. Second on the list was Khampur, with 10 road accident deaths. Dhaula kuan with 8 deaths. Interestingly, Mukarba Chowk was also among the top three black spots in 2021.

Crashes by Day and Night

The report also classified the crashes based on day and night. Fatal crashes in day time were uniformly higher than those in night time in all the years from 2018 to 2022.

“The increase in the number of crashes during the day is due to heavy traffic during that time. However, at night due to less volume of traffic, police and visibility, accidents are more fatal,” he added.

Cyclists in Delhi are another vulnerable road users. Mathura road witnessed most of the crashes with six in the day and two at night, followed by Rothak road witnessing three crashes in the day and three at night, the report revealed.

“The footpath and cycle tracks in the city are mostly limited to the Lutyens Delhi. These are just symbolic representations,” he added.