Alwarpet flyover accident claims a life

By Praveen Kumar S Published on Feb 20, 2017 10:03 AM IST

The sharp curve that claimed a life at the C P Ramaswamy flyover at Alwarpet. (Inset) The spot where the bikers fell off the bridge.

Chennai: Two people fell from a bike from the C P Ramaswamy Iyer flyover at Alwarpet with the person riding pillion losing his life on the spot.

The rider who suffered grievous injuries has been hospitalised. This follows various other accidents in the city that have seen people dying or suffering major injuries while negotiating on a flyover.

The one that happened before yesterday’s accident was in August last year. A motorcyclist lost his life at Adyar having smashed into the retaining wall of the bridge and fell 30 ft on to the road. In 2015, a biker fell off the Kathipara flyover and was hit by an SUV. Fortunately, he survived.

That was not the case with a 48-year-old motorcyclist who died falling off the Maduravoyal flyover in the same year. The Alwarpet bridge has also seen a couple of accidents.

Back in 2006, a couple was thrown off a motorcycle in almost a similar fashion and landed on a moving car. They survived but suffered injuries on the head, arms and legs.

Last April, a biker died in a similar manner having hit the parapet wall and falling down. This begs the question about the safety of the city’s bridges. Nearly every flyover in the city would have seen an accident due to various reasons.

It could be lack of reflectors, inadequate railings on the sides, absence of speed limit sign boards, lights or speeding. But the most important ones would be lack of high railings on the sides and speeding.

The Alwarpet flyover has railings on both sides. However, they seem to be small and inadequate to stop a vehicle from falling over the bridge.

There are fluorescent reflectors for people to identify the curve at night. However, there are no signs stating the speed limit to be followed on the bridge. Thus, speeding is a major cause for accidents as vehicles can lose stability and hit the railing while negotiating the curve at great speed.

Residents nearby urged the need of a high railing and proper lighting on the bridge for improved safety. A speed bump at the beginning of the flyover would also prove to be useful for slowing vehicles down. Authorities need to put up sign boards regarding the sharp curve up-ahead.

One of the basic rules of driving/riding on a bridge is that there should be no overtaking. This is flouted by most drivers/bikers. The police identified the victim as Shiva Shanmugham (39), a welder from Mandaveli. The rider goes by the name Stephenraj, a bank employee.

The police said the two bikers were not wearing helmets at the time of the accident. The welder is survived by his wife Chithra and two children.