7 Sept 2013

Another hit-and-run on the x-way!

An eyewitness account of a hit-and-run by Sandeep Phukan 

6.09.2013, Greater Noida Expressway: "It would have been one more hit-and-run case, a poor cyclist's life snuffed out by a speeding car, one more entry in the number of accidents on the Noida Expressway. And a routine for me in the past three years. But Thursday was different. My car broke down, so when I started for Parliament at 2:45 pm, I was in a hurry. For the entire 23-km stretch of the Noida expressway, I maintained a constant speed of 80 km an hour, even though the limit was 100 km.

Just when I reached the Mahamaya flyover at the end of the Expressway, around 10 km from Delhi, I noticed a white Volkswagen in my rear-view mirror, closing in at a menacing speed, zig-zagging its way through. In just a few seconds, the car flew past me from the left - the wrong side. My natural instinct was to slow down and resort to defensive driving. There were two cars ahead of me; one just in front and another to its left. In between, there was just about enough space for another car to squeeze in. And that's precisely what the speeding driver attempted, when a cyclist, riding against the traffic on the wrong lane, appeared in front of him.

It is standard practice on this stretch for cyclists, in the morning and evenings, to take the wrong side. Usually, the cyclists cross over in groups, 20-30 at a time. But this wasn't the case yesterday - a lone cyclist found himself in a front of a speeding car, being driven rashly. Within seconds, I saw the cyclist thrown up at least 10 feet above, and come down crashing as his head hit the ground.

Instinctively, I hit the brakes and my car screeched to a stop. As I froze for a few seconds, I saw the white car stopping a few feet away from the fallen cyclist.Just as I was getting out, the driver sped off. A motorcyclist just ahead of me gave chase and so did I. Luckily, he was forced to stop due to a flat tyre and we caught him about a km away. 

The driver was a young boy, not more than 20. He told us he was a student of a private university in Noida and started dropping names, flaunting his connections. As I stopped a gathering crowd from hitting him, I asked, "Why did you leave the injured man and run away?" "Main aur karta yaar, (what else could I do, man?)," came the instant reply from the boy, almost 20 years younger to me. We called the police and hand over the boy to them.

The wounded cyclist had been taken to the Kailash hospital, around five km from the accident spot. He died five hours later. An ID card on him revealed that he was Vinod, 32, a resident of Madanpur Khadar, a low-income residential colony near Apollo Hospital in south Delhi.

The cops have arrested the young driver, who is the son of an eminent lawyer. And the case will now be fought in courts, where at least one party is well-versed with the rules of the game."

BikeTalk: It is very sad that yet another cyclist has been killed on our roads, though to be fair in this case the fault lay with the cyclist in flouting basic traffic rules. Having said that, the errant driver is even more guilty, not just for the dangerous driving, but far worse, his callous attitude. His reaction, "Main aur karta yaar", as a justification for running away knowing that he had grievously injured the cyclist, is the mindset of the motorists who remain unafraid of being punished by the law. Till the time such errant drivers are not held accountable and penalised for their actions, this attitude will not change.  It is an earnest request to all Cyclists to practice and advocate safe riding. Please set an example for the others on the road. Although, it will not stop such incidents from occurring, it will definitely go a long way in preventing them. 

Ride safe, keep safe!


  1. True, the cycling is not just about being a sport but following a passion for the activity as much as for the environment in the right sense and also about training with discipline, rules and safety/precautions and imbibe and inspire the same sense in others too..., which sadly was missing in this case. For if the cyclist had followed them, he would not have met such unfortunate fate untimely ...
    Hope fellow cyclists learn lessons from this and avoid being reckless and careless and follow the basic rules which is for everyone's benefit in the 1st place ....