“You must share the road with pedestrians. Special markings on the road show where pedestrians have special rights.You must give way to pedestrians crossing the road into which you are turning. You must also give way to pedestrians – even if there is no marked pedestrian crossing – if there is any danger of colliding with them” – These were some of the slogans in the protest march taken out by the Kerala State Upabokthra Vedi (Consumer Forum) in S.M.Street in Kozhikode over the utter negligence shown to the pedestrians crossing the zebra lines in the busy junctions in the city and in the the message contained in the pamphlets distributed to the public and motorists by the Vedi activists.
Around 100 people under the banner of the Kerala State Upabokthra Vedi dressed up in zebra costume blocked the road and the traffic for some time near Kidson corner in the city as a symbolic protest against motorists often ignoring zebra crossings even if people are waiting beside it to cross the road. The protest was as part of their relentless campaign to create awareness of the purpose of zebra lines, and how pedestrians’ are often neglected and denied their rights.
Valsan Nellicode, State President of the Vedi, who inaugurated the procession of the zebra dressed activists of the Vedi said “There is total negligence on the part of authorities to ensure a safer crossing of roads by the pedestrians especially children. The police stop people from crossing the road to allow the vehicles to pass. The signal lights that should permit pedestrian crossing are often damaged. The white markings at the zebra crossings are utterly faded, causing accidents and loss of lives. Pedestrians have a right to use the zebra crossings,”
This is the third phase of the protest launched by the Upabokthra Vedi. The Vedi, in the forefront of the consumer rights movement in the state has been campaigning for zebra crossings for the last two years in the wake of spurt in the accidents at the zebra crossings in which many people were either killed or severely injured.
“Many petitions were submitted to the authorities and protests were held, but there had been no response. Hence, we decided to adopt a novel method of protest. This will continue until the safety and security of the pedestrians is fully protected. ” said Ajitha Adampatt, district president of the Vedi.
.“The licence of those drivers who cause accidents on zebra lines should be cancelled,” said C.S. Sathyabhama, former councillor of Kozhikode Corporation and social activist while addressing the march. P.K Sasidharan, Kozhikode district secretary of the Vedi and M.K. Pramod, Assistant Registrar, University of Calicut spoke on the occasion.