Thursday, June 18, 2009

Bangalore Traffic – A case study of Chaos!

Beep beep. Trrrrr trrrrr. Screeech. #$*@$#*. All put together make the symphony that is the sound of Bangalore traffic. Riding on the streets of Bangalore on my bicycle or bike has been an intriguing experience. You never know what is going to happen next. Is that bus gonna stop in middle of the road? Is that auto gonna do a U-turn on a busy street? Is that dog or man gonna cross the road without warning? Or are you gonna get spit on by a passenger in the bus? Boy, don’t I sometimes wish I had not five, but ten senses to aid me getting to my destination unscathed.

The undoubted kings of the road are their majesty, the autos! Weaving through the traffic with the manoeuvrability of bees, these guys are intent on practicing Brownian motion. Some of them are so loud; you can’t even hear the gentle throbbing of your own engine or for that matter the much bigger bus in front of you. It is like they are telling you can run, you can hide, but you can’t escape my noise! I wonder if the autos had been more powerful. Imagine the havoc they could have caused. Many thanks to Bajaj for restricting the engine power of autos to just 7 bhp (yeah! I checked!). Or imagine if auto drivers were drunk. Would the autos be a more potent force for causing chaos? Or would the two negative effects cancel out? I hope this experiment is never ever tried out!

But hey auto drivers aren’t the only dudes who spice up Bangalore’s road life. Street rage sometimes leads to use of some really colourful language. Unnecessary honking even on empty roads, high beam headlights on brightly lit roads, etc. turn the streets of Bangalore into an unwanted disco. Then we have dudes who make use of every bhp of power their engine can churn out to reach 0-60 kmph in 5 seconds and then end up using the amazing braking capacity of their disc brakes to come to a grinding halt with 2 seconds at the next signal. It goes like vroooooom and then screeeeech!! This practice is a big waste of fuel. So it’s best to avoid high acceleration and excessive braking for the sake of the environment and your pocket.

Then we have the ‘bike crossing the road’ event. Now whenever a rider joins a main road from a side road on the opposing traffic side, he first goes some distance on the wrong side in the hope of crossing the road somewhere further. What’s the point? Anyways he has to stop and wait for an opening in the traffic flow. So do the nonsensical thing of going wrong side and then stopping? I guess there are some things in life internet can’t explain, for everything else there is Google. Oh and sometimes cars and buses also try this!

Another passing observation on roads that do not have dividers. Whenever for some reason there is no traffic coming from the opposite direction, all the motorists take the liberty of thinking it is a one way street. Now the traffic from the opposite direction may be blocked due to a railway crossing or a lorry taking reverse or something. So at the point of obstruction you see traffic piled up opposite each other on both sides of the road. And when the obstruction is cleared, all hell breaks loose! Smooth flow of traffic is obstructed by the over smart motorists trying to get back on the correct side.

Now for the real baddies of the road. Pedestrians. Their high manoeuvrability makes them very dangerous. Even more than autos. Throw in a cell phone and the pedestrian can give any motorist nightmares. They never use the footpath they are supposed to use. I guess everyone likes life in the fast lane. You encounter these devils more commonly whilst cycling as you use the extreme left of the road infested by these pests then. And the way they cross the road takes the cake. It is best illustrated by a figure. Now from the figure you can see, the shortest distance between two parallel lines, the road edges, is the path perpendicular to it (AB). So obviously the pedestrians, for the greater good of all road users, should cross roads along AB. But no! The shortest distance between two points (A and C) is not AB + BC, but AC of course! So the smart asses on foot cross the diagonal to it, jumping between cars, signalling motorists to slow down, and generally walking nonchalantly across the busiest roads leaving a trail of cursing motorists in their wake!

So that was an in depth analysis of Bangalore’s road users. The way to avoid this hell? Take the bus and have a good laugh at all the others down below you shaking their heads in despair and muttering under and over their breaths. Or learn to take it in your stride see the lighter side of how stupid and inconsiderate people can get.


  1. Publish this paper.. n in future they will have diagonal zebra crossings on roads :P

  2. @chimu.. i ll try 2 oublish it in TOI.. they publish a lot of nonsense..