Pune, for the longest of time has been one of the most favourable cities to live in and the way the geographical boundaries are expanding of our beloved city, there’s no denying that. Along with the expansion, we can also see that the infrastructure, viz., roads isn’t doing justice to this never-ending growth. Our city also isn’t quite famous for its public transport and we all know why. All this adds up to endless traffic, clogged and chaotic streets. The FM radio is the loyal companion of most commuters. One could argue that there are less traffic jams when compared to other cities like Mumbai, Bangalore, etc. but we can’t be happy about it.
An observation from a while ago stated that if all the cars that have been registered by the RTO (Road Transport Office) were parked on all the roads and bylanes of the city, we’d run out of space. Imagine what would happen if the exercise is actually carried out today or put to paper like last time!
Along with the traffic comes another menace to society, honking. Yes, it is a big deal. No, honking doesn’t solve problems nor does it avoid any mishaps. It is a nuisance and yes, I wish technology moves forward and prevents commuters from honking unnecessarily.
Rajendra Sidhaye, a member of SPTM (Save Pune Traffic Movement) says, “To reduce and eliminate honking, it is necessary to spread awareness that most honking is completely unnecessary as well as useless! I do this at a personal level, whenever I am riding in a vehicle driven by someone else or in auto-rickshaw and see them honking, I ask them just to try an experiment and not honk at all, for rest of the ride. Most of the times the person notices that it did not make any difference at all, and acknowledges it with a smile on his face!”
Honking at pedestrians is unnecessary. Honking at animals scares them. Honking for the traffic signal to go green is annoying. Making a ruckus because the vehicle in front of you at the signal hasn’t moved after seeing the green light is frustrating. And let’s not get started with unnecessary honking.
Although Notifications have been issued by the various government institutions like the State Environment Department authorities, the state transport department and so on regarding the limits on decibel levels on horns along with types of horns, penalties on non-compliance, no-honking zones, etc. the noise level is still high given the increase in vehicular population in the city.
As a part of SPTM sessions conducted by Mr. Sidhaye and his colleagues, they spread this message along with an experiment. “We ask, ‘how often does our audience honk per day?’ 50 times? 25 times? Note it down. Now take a challenge for one week to reduce it to 50%, and then go down to 25% and so on…till it reduces to zero, or to be used only in very rare cases.” he adds.
In the meantime, what we can do as sensible Punekars is try to cut down on our honking. Now it’s definitely going to be easy and here are a few ways in which we can do so:
- Strictly avoid unnecessary honking. This includes no honking at traffic signals, in no-honking zones, at friends whose attention you are trying to grab. Don’t honk to notify your friend that you are waiting for him under his/her place. Call them, India has one of the cheapest calling rates, make the best use of them!
- Flash lights during the night instead of Horn OK Please.
- Flash lights at animals.
- Be attentive on the road so that you are prepared for what lies ahead of you and you don’t need to honk at the traffic around you.
- Maintain lane discipline and follow speed limits. This naturally cuts down chaos on the streets.
Let’s strive to make our streets quieter and our commutes more pleasant.