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Understanding Road Safety Rules Is Important For Drivers As Well As Pedestrians

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Safer Roads for YouEditor’s Note: This post is a part of #SaferRoadsForYou, a campaign by Safer Roads for Gurugram and Youth Ki Awaaz to understand the behaviour of road users and advocate for the importance of road safety. Join this conversation and tell us about your experience on Indian roads here.

Road safety is a burning issue in India due to the poor infrastructure and lack of proper maintenance of roads. Indian roads are full of potholes. Road accidents are increasing in numbers and the real reason behind these are poor road design, ill-maintenance of vehicles and also the rash behavior of drivers as we see many young people indulging in reckless driving. According to the data from International Road Federation, there are more deaths due to road accidents than any other way. At present India accounts for 10% of global road accidents with more than 1.47 lakh fatalities annually, the highest in the world. As per the report by Times of India, there have been 3597 deaths due to potholes on roads in the year 2017.

The rate of road-related accidents and injuries are soaring up day by day. It must be noted that potholes are not the only reason behind many deaths, because there are also other factors to consider such as – people’s ignorance towards road safety rules.

Most of us do not even understand the basics of road designs. And I believe the first step towards making our roads safer is to make people aware of what centerline, twin white/yellow lines or zebra crossing are meant for. These are road features that are meant for specific purposes like the centreline which indicates you can overtake if the coast is clear or the zebra crossing is meant for pedestrians to help them cross the road.

People traveling on a two-wheeler sometimes forget to wear a helmet and this has actually cost many lives. People who drink and drive, who do not wear seat-belts, or use mobile phones while driving not only put their lives at risk but also of others.

Some of the common issues which are barriers to road safety measures are overspeeding, violation of safety rules, consumption of alcohol and drugs, road congestion (which can be avoided by using public transport system and carpooling).

So, if the public is guilty of not obeying traffic rules then it’s the government’s duty to correct them. Although we have laws in place, if the public needs are not met, you can’t force public to obey rules either. Firstly, we need a better infrastructure, maintenance and also use quality material for road construction – perhaps the reason for the never ending potholes on most of our roads.

We also need to ensure proper implementation of traffic rules for better road safety. Our roads are even worse when it comes to accessibility for disabled people, they are much less safe for them. The roads in India are not designed to fit the needs of differently-able people. The government needs to implement specific measures to make roads and public transport accessible for all the people. The authorities must also cater to the specific requirements of visually disabled. Right now the lack of ramps on roads is a huge barrier for people on wheelchairs who cannot use the roads if they don’t have vehicles  – because it’s unsafe.

If we discuss road safety from the viewpoint of women there is a need to take measures to make the roads safer for women especially at night. Lack of street lights and police patrolling is making Indian roads dangerous for women. India is not safe for its women and the reason is less safe roads. If I talk about my personal experience I often had to face this and got scared. Women safety in public spaces should be our priority.

As parents, people should never let their underage kids drive. The schoolkids should also be educated about road safety and traffic rules. We also need to follow the traffic rules as individuals and avoid jumping red lights no matter how much of a hurry we are in. And young people with motorcycles have the habit of rash driving which is a threat to their lives as well as others. Even as pedestrians, we must be careful while crossing the roads and we must also teach basic road safety rules to our children.

There are different technologies which come in handy which we can use to prevent accidents. Many gadgets are available in the market, and depending on the requirement of a driver, these can be bought and installed to ensure safer roads for drivers and pedestrians alike. For example, the digital tire gauge which measures tire pressure instantly and gives a reading, reducing the tediousness and ensuring simplicity of this crucial function or technology like ‘Lane Change Assists’ developed by automobile companies all over the world assist drivers in changing lanes etc.

Road safety measures should ensure that roads are accessible to drivers as well as pedestrians. Education on the same plays a vital role in shaping the attitude and behavior of children as well as young people, thereby ensuring that they become a responsible drivers, passengers, pedestrians etc.

We can prevent accidents if people and the government come together to make the roads safer for all the citizens – because road safety is everyone’s responsibility.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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