Navigating Nepal’s Road Challenges: A Call for Responsibility and Change

Navigating Nepal’s Road Challenges: A Call for Responsibility and Change

Nepal is grappling with severe road issues. Pedestrians struggle to walk, riders find it challenging to navigate, and drivers face constant obstacles. The situation is dire. Despite the increasing number of cars and bikes, the roads remain the same size, exacerbating the problem. Dogs roam freely, cows wander across streets, and people carelessly lead goats onto pedestrian crossings. Reckless overtaking further compounds the chaos. Driving in Nepal is akin to a nightmare.

Where do we stand in all of this? It’s like watching your blood pressure soar to alarming levels—frightening, isn’t it?

The mayor of Kathmandu municipality rightly remarked, “Simply painting bicycle lanes green won’t solve our problems.” It’s a valid point. How can bicycles maneuver on the same narrow roads as cars? Separating lanes seems
impractical when there’s barely enough space for vehicles. Zebra crossings are mere decorations; pedestrians are an afterthought.

Speed limits are flouted with impunity unless a traffic officer intervenes. How pathetic is it that no one follows the speed limit until there is a traffic officer on the Highway of Ringroad checking for speed and issuing tickets? But is it ethical to obey rules only when being watched? Reckless drivers make nighttime journeys perilous. Change is needed, but who will initiate it?

Do motorcycle riders even use their mirrors? Changing lanes becomes risky when signals are ignored and mirrors are misaligned. Confusion reigns over which lane is for slow or fast traffic. People simply tend to be in the middle of the road, riding or driving.

The pedestrian bridges in Kathmandu, Lalitpur, and Bhaktapur, intended to facilitate safe crossing, often appear more like ornamental structures as many individuals continue to bypass them by leaping over barriers to cross directly on the street. Despite the availability of nearby zebra crossings, people disregard them and choose to cross wherever it is convenient. A recent tragic incident in the Kathmandu Valley, resulting in the loss of a traffic police officer’s life, underscores the increasing frequency of accidents in the region. Over time, the
prevalence of traffic violations has surged, resulting in fines exceeding Rs 27 lakh. Is it acceptable to risk our own lives because of our actions?

We’re trained and licensed drivers, well-versed in road rules. Yet, why do we falter in practice? It’s time to adhere to the system. Proper road management and division are crucial. If each of us commits to following the rules, progress is inevitable. It starts with individual responsibility. If I choose to cross the road recklessly, others will follow suit. But if I use designated crossings, I set a positive example.

Every effort holds significance. Like drops of water forming an ocean, we must join forces to foster a safer, more structured milieu on our roads, enabling individuals to traverse them—whether by driving, riding, or walking—without the looming dread of losing their lives due to others’ disregard for traffic regulations and rules.

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