Where are the Pelican signals?

Most of them are broken or not in use despite repeated safety campaigns by the Traffic Department
(Left) The signal in front of a private hospital on Cunningham Road. (Right)  In front of M S Building
(Left) The signal in front of a private hospital on Cunningham Road. (Right) In front of M S Building

BANGALORE: Pelican signals. If you associate these words with the bird and its mating signals, you are not the only one. After sustained campaigning on road safety awareness this year, the Traffic Police Department has failed to put the pelican signal system in place to protect  pedestrians and in effect have encouraged jaywalking.

Pelican signals are manually-controlled signals, which on pressing the button gives the pedestrian a window of 15 seconds to cross the road safely by turning the signal to red.

The first pelican signal was installed on M G road in 2005, which was later removed due to the Metro construction. The others were installed subsequently at the cost of Rs 4.5 lakh each. Currently, there are 31 pelican signals in the city including those in front of hospitals such as Fortis Hospital, Mallya Hospital, St. Martha’s Hospital and Police Commissioner’s office among other places. Of these signals, five are not functioning like those on K G Road and K R Puram, claim department officials. However, a spot check reveals  that the others too are either broken or not in use.

Dr M A Saleem, Addl.Commissioner of Police (Traffic), blames the wreckage of the systems on the pedestrians. “Most of these are broken because people keep pressing the button too hard or for a long time. They don’t realise the damage they cause by doing so,” he says.

The Department is now considering the use of automatic signals to overcome the problem. “This is the reason why we are now switching to automatic signals. But, people may have to wait up to two minutes to cross the road,” he adds. However, pedestrians and police constables are already giving a thumbs down to the  project as it expects people to wait and cross the road. While people believe it be a waste of time, a traffic constable at Koramangala questions, “We tell them (people) to wait, look at the signal and then cross the road. They don’t listen. If they meet with an accident, whose fault is it?”

But, the solution cannot be in deploying additional traffic personnel as the numbers can never match the need on the road. “We don’t have so many traffic policemen,” says Dr M A Saleem.

However, he said that awareness campaigns on pelican or automated signals will be conducted as soon as the signals are repaired or replaced. Which we hope will be very soon.

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