The only way to make the roads safer for all motorists is to bring those who brazenly disobey road rules under the umbrella of the law
nyone who has lived in Lahore for any stretch of time knows about the impossibility of driving here and staying sane. As someone with no choice but to drive everywhere myself, I tend to think twice before turning the ignition key. I dread leaving for work six days a week. I cringe internally before I’ve even left the garage because I know what awaits me.
Chaos and disorder abound as the traffic situation worsens by the day as drivers become more reckless. As if driving ridiculously fast is going to save them any precious fuel (newsflash: it doesn’t). As if coming through a one-way road is going to be any quicker (newsflash: it isn’t). As if being on the phone while driving a sticker-covered motorbike makes you look ‘cool’ (newsflash: it doesn’t).
Most of the time, the brunt of this stressful ordeal falls upon the weary shoulders of car owners, who must abide by the road rules to the best of their abilities while also dodging swarms of motorbikes. Whether they’re coming right at you on a one-way road, double teaming you from either side or failing to use their brains and brakes in time, motorcyclists seem to think they’re above the law. I suppose there is safety and superiority in numbers considering how many motorbikes are out on the road now due to fuel price hikes but that is hardly an excuse for the blatant endangerment of other motorists. And in my personal experience, law enforcement is rarely seen doing anything to stop them from flouting road rules and endangering others.
Anyone who has lived in Lahore for any stretch of time knows about the impossibility of driving here and staying sane.
As I wait patiently to make a U-turn at the red light close to my workplace every single day, I can’t help but feel resentful of the colour blindness that seems to afflict motorcyclists alone. I have yet to see a traffic policeman stop or fine the hoards of motorcyclists running the red light. All while car owners sit there twiddling their thumbs as their side view mirrors get scratched up by the blur that waits for no one.
No one is sure where the shroud of immunity from the law and self-accountability comes from. Whether it’s an institutional failure on the City Traffic Police’s part, or the motorcyclists themselves, car owners continue to suffer. In the absence of widespread public transportation, pedestrian sidewalks and stricter enforcement of laws, car owners can do little to nothing about the stress and despair that plagues them on the road.
The only way to make the roads safer for all motorists is to bring those who brazenly disobey road rules under the umbrella of the law. Unfortunately, if and when that happens is anyone’s guess.
The author is a staff member