Adults of all ages and school children en masse walk along the streets without any sidewalk area. On the national highway there are Rikshas, and overloaded tractors in the middle of the roads. Cows and goats cross. Gaps and bumpy parts – no problem for the cyclists. Guard rails? In the big cities you find them, but as soon as you you reach the outerskirts they become rare. You can count the traffic lights… The number is limited, you have to count only a few and only in big cities.
Most of the signs along the roads remember to make use of horns. Instead, on the streets there are big promotional billboards. Just imagine how many signs should be put up if we were in Germany or other high- safety country! A real big market niche.
The “unsafe” areas, broken stairs, gaps, and opportunities to fall, even deep, are endless , also around anganwadis (kindergarten) These conditions would make our young parents cry loudly and national 24 hours demonstrations would take place . Here the children run on terraces at the top of houses with small or no fences protecting them to drop – ten, fifteen meters.
Monkeys play with electricity cables hanging around … Workers repair houses and paint walls just climbing on small sticks and without any safety rope or preotection shoes.
The risks are obvious everywhere. And accidents happen. But according the Western world’s understanding of safety issues all Indians must have died already. But they are still alive and do not worry too much. They have adapted to the surroundings. And are flexible and ready to react. Often very innovative, too, in finding solutions and new ways on how to solve problems.
I just think of some safety awareness trainings we have to do from time to time in our offices (eg using stairs) – don’t get me wrong, I do not criticize that. However, there is a very critcal point with our safety understanding: I think of young children who – if we followed some experts -should wear even helmets when going out. Too much protection can lead also to a strange effect. Making people unsafe and giving them a feeling to protect even more against everything. Against themselves and every innovative approach, too.