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Old 31st July 2017, 18:43   #1
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Default Bike & car groups vandalizing road signs in the Himalayas

Dear all

Wanted to post this for sometime, but couldn't find the time from my busy schedule. Himalayas are something we are proud of. Not only they are protecting our borders but also providing relief to us during the summer months. With better roads, communication and easy to get hotels, we all look forward to the Himalayas.
Each one of us plans a vacation sometime or the other in the Himalayas and we love to reach our places of interest in one way or the other. Mostly we self drive, take cabs, sometimes take public transportation and others prefer biking.

Lately so many biking groups have come up in every city and they all plan every summer to gear up for the mother of all rides- Ride to Leh and beyond. Nothing extraordinary now as all do it once a lifetime atleast.
Recently one person on such a ride on a scooter posted something which is really very sad.

Biker groups from all parts of our country visiting Leh and Khardungla and spoiling the road sign boards.

This post is just to create awareness and simply bring up this matter that we shouldn't be doing such things in the name of brotherhood, biking clubs and so on.

FYI a drive is initiated and one of the biking groups has come forward and commenced the clean up operations.

Photo courtesy: The Himalayan Club
Attached Thumbnails
Bike & car groups vandalizing road signs in the Himalayas-1501506549623.jpg  

Bike & car groups vandalizing road signs in the Himalayas-1501506575253.jpg  

Bike & car groups vandalizing road signs in the Himalayas-1501506595984.jpg  


Last edited by GTO : 1st August 2017 at 11:33.
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Old 31st July 2017, 21:19   #2
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Default re: Bike & car groups vandalizing road signs in the Himalayas

Quote:
Originally Posted by joybird View Post
Dear all

Wanted to post this for sometime but couldn't find the time from my busy schedule. Himalayas are something we are proud of. Not only they are protecting our borders but also provide relief to us during the summer months. With better roads, communication and easy to get hotels we all look forward to the Himalayas.
This is so sad. This is one reason why many locals there have developed an aversion towards people from the "plains". It also makes the roads unsafe, especially at night.
If we visit any historical monument, we see names inscribed on the thousand year old structures. It is a sad commentary on our sense of national pride. We do not value heritage, whether natural or archaeological.

Last edited by GTO : 1st August 2017 at 11:35. Reason: typo
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Old 1st August 2017, 11:33   #3
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Default re: Bike & car groups vandalizing road signs in the Himalayas

This is really a sad picture of vandalizing the Himalayas in the name of touring. I am absolutely wary of these so called "Group Rides" who wear the name of their group on their sleeves and boast of huge number of riders. I never knew these guys would go to the extent of vandalizing Road Signs with their pathetic group stickers which no one wants to see. Why do they want to put up these stickers, is it for advertising? chest thumping that they were here? Well who cares. It is ok to put up stickers, lapel pins, and what not on your motorcycles and clothes but why to put them on public property.

Instead of preserving the beauty and heritage of the Himalayas these morons are making it dirty and vandalizing public property. No wonder bikers have a bad name and reputation due to poor souls like these.

This is one of the many reasons why I don't ride in such so called Group Riders. Joybird mate thanks for sharing this.
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Old 1st August 2017, 12:01   #4
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Default re: Bike & car groups vandalizing road signs in the Himalayas

Anecdote :
Though self-driving through the picturesque locations in Ladakh region seems tempting, I was actually shocked to see the conditions of the road. These are extremely narrow and even more dangerous to maneuver with the onlslaught of supply trucks. I was just thinking to myself, how could everybody plan a roadtrip to Ladakh!
After a couple of days into the trip, the driver of the car asked me if I wished to drive. Though the proposition was really exciting, I politely refused, stating how novice I was in driving in such conditions, and would be sure to cause damage to his lovingly maintained 1st Gen Scorpio.
He then went on a rant, about how people from all over DL, PB, UP would come with no prior experience and drive recklessly on the rocky roads. Apart from lack of driving skills, they would not show respect to other drivers/lack driving etiquette, by stopping suddenly, inappropriate use of beamers, etc.
and how the association of taxi owners and drivers were concerned about the safety of the occupants of their cars and the locals. Therefore, they tried their level best to refute the self-drive cars on such terrains. He went on to differentiate an experienced driver from novice during the trip, and his rant was totally justified!
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Old 1st August 2017, 13:09   #5
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by navin_v8 View Post
This is really a sad picture of vandalizing the Himalayas in the name of touring. I am absolutely wary of these so called "Group Rides" who wear the name of their group on their sleeves and boast of huge number of riders. I never knew these guys would go to the extent of vandalizing Road Signs with their pathetic group stickers which no one wants to see. Why do they want to put up these stickers, is it for advertising? chest thumping that they were here? Well who cares. It is ok to put up stickers, lapel pins, and what not on your motorcycles and clothes but why to put them on public property.

Instead of preserving the beauty and heritage of the Himalayas these morons are making it dirty and vandalizing public property. No wonder bikers have a bad name and reputation due to poor souls like these.

This is one of the many reasons why I don't ride in such so called Group Riders. Joybird mate thanks for sharing this.
You are welcome. Sharing this post for this reason only. We should not encourage such malpractice.
Being a member of any club doesn't give a person any special privileges to deface public property.
I bike whenever I get a chance and also part of a group based in Chandigarh. Few things we all promote- wear the gear, no alcohol abuse, stay in speed limit and behave in public places. It's something everyone needs to practice and setting good examples for the young generation.
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Old 1st August 2017, 14:23   #6
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Default re: Bike & car groups vandalizing road signs in the Himalayas

I would not blame just the biker groups here. It is only co-incidental that it is easier to ride on bikes as a group than cars and many biker group trips get materialized easily than those planned on cars.

Not to forget the fact that these days, there is a group for almost every bike or car that you can think of.

Only last Friday morning, I noticed at least 8 Dusters parked on the shoulder in front of Esteem Mall (Bangalore) facing towards Hyderabad with the first one having typical flags like a pilot/marshal car has during certain events. There was this huge textual sticker covering the entire length of the car with "Bangalore to Leh" as well. Needless so say, this was another group heading for a sojourn to the Himalayas. On whether this group also has stickers that they would want to paste at Khardung-La, well I am not sure but they may!!

Coming to the point of vandalizing road signs with such stickers - I am sure the habit will continue, big time and it will only get worse. These days, many take pride by leaving such dirty footprints rather than share their experiences by writing about it or helping others. Today is the era of "I will buy THIS car or THAT Bike and then go for a road trip" whereas the same people would have not even known how to put a jack below the wheel when their existing cars suffered a flat tire.

Just because I am part of a group I would like to go for that group ride/Drive is what keeps pestering the minds of the members. Ladakh is one of the most popular one that one plans every year and no wonder we see the results there in form the stickers. I am sure in years to come, Bhutan and North Eastern destinations (Thanks to Social Media) too will face this and not just with the signage but a lot more when signages run out of space.

And how easily we blame those perpetrators who damage highway markings and steal the reflective median markers for fun! As an educated lot which rides in such groups, what they do its even more pitiable even though this is not stealing.

Last edited by paragsachania : 1st August 2017 at 14:33.
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Old 1st August 2017, 14:39   #7
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Default re: Bike & car groups vandalizing road signs in the Himalayas

Quote:
Originally Posted by sharktale View Post
He then went on a rant, about how people from all over DL, PB, UP would come with no prior experience and drive recklessly on the rocky roads. Apart from lack of driving skills, they would not show respect to other drivers/lack driving etiquette, by stopping suddenly, inappropriate use of beamers, etc.
and how the association of taxi owners and drivers were concerned about the safety of the occupants of their cars and the locals. Therefore, they tried their level best to refute the self-drive cars on such terrains. He went on to differentiate an experienced driver from novice during the trip, and his rant was totally justified!
Sorry, but I disagree.

There is no lack of maniacs on the hills as on the plains. If you drive long enough on the hills, you will come across many ill-driven local cars. Majority of them - taxis. I am not defending the Zoomcar crowd here, sure, most (not all) are reckless most of the time, but the local taxis are no less! And this is across the hill states of UK,JK,HP. I never let these guys be around me, either let them overtake or stop to let them go (even if I am climbing and have a right of way).

Nobody uses high beams correctly in this country (hills are no different).

The only time I have experienced sane local taxis is in the Northeast. But then almost everyone drives sanely there, even the truckers!
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Old 1st August 2017, 16:36   #8
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Default re: Bike & car groups vandalizing road signs in the Himalayas

In the context of the thread, sadly apart from vandalism, the littering and throwing all sorts of garbage in the beautiful area has also become more common.

Because the tourists have increased so have the small shanti's there and they contribute a lot to this pollution too.
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Old 1st August 2017, 17:31   #9
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Default re: Bike & car groups vandalizing road signs in the Himalayas

I think the title of the thread needs to be updated, it is not just biker groups, a lot of car groups are guilty as well. Going forward I think it is going to get worse if not curbed. My hands are itching to remove all these stickers and put up one saying BlackPearl was here!
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Old 1st August 2017, 19:31   #10
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Default re: Bike & car groups vandalizing road signs in the Himalayas

I personally think there are loads of car stickers in there also but hey, thats just me. I am not condoning the act at all and I would equate such "stickering" to vandalism. But sadly, this isn't just in India - a quick google search brought up so many images - hell, I've seen signboards shot up with guns and bullet holes on em!

All images from this page - http://www.alamy.com/stock-photo/travel-stickers.html
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Old 1st August 2017, 19:59   #11
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Default re: Bike & car groups vandalizing road signs in the Himalayas

Somehow I support the sticker thing.

Because:
Bikers from various parts of the country ride to this tough yet mesmerizing terrain enduring the pain and suffering on their rides. Its not easy, requires a lot of guts and preparation to make it there. Reaching there on the bike shows the rider's endurance and strength.
After all the pain and suffering when one reaches the destination, its an emotional feeling to put his mark on the board. It is a proud feeling. A feeling of satisfaction and achievement.

But, don't get me wrong. Putting stickers on the road signs is not something to be proud of as the stickers are hiding the informative board. Now this becomes dangerous and should be illegal. Partially covering the road signs endangers the life of travelers who are unaware of the terrain.

Taking both these scenarios in consideration, I think its best to put a plain white board besides these landmark road signs for the riders/drivers to put their stickers on. Possibly serves both the purpose.

Just a thought...

Last edited by iamahunter : 1st August 2017 at 20:00.
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Old 1st August 2017, 22:54   #12
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Default re: Bike & car groups vandalizing road signs in the Himalayas

Guilty as charged.

Forgive us for celebrating years of planning and saving up, agonising ourselves on non existent roads, to go where few go and see the sights which very few get to see. Forgive us for celebrating all the hardwork and occupying a 4inx2in space on a road sign. I just hope no one mistakes this for Khardung La mistakenly due to unnecessary stickers and takes a selfie with the caption "on top of the world".

/s
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Old 1st August 2017, 23:31   #13
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Default re: Bike & car groups vandalizing road signs in the Himalayas

This is plain illegal, and people supporting this saying this is an act of "celebration" of "years of planning" are just not helping the cause. You don't celebrate by vandalising public signboards which has information on it, which is totally masked by the many "small 4 inch x 2 inch" stickers.
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Old 2nd August 2017, 08:00   #14
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Default re: Bike & car groups vandalizing road signs in the Himalayas

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Originally Posted by ashwin1224 View Post
Guilty as charged.

Forgive us for celebrating years of planning and saving up, agonising ourselves on non existent roads, to go where few go and see the sights which very few get to see. Forgive us for celebrating all the hardwork and occupying a 4inx2in space on a road sign. I just hope no one mistakes this for Khardung La mistakenly due to unnecessary stickers and takes a selfie with the caption "on top of the world".

/s
Surely the amount of efforts put to reach such places is tremendous, kudos for the same.

Now, think about the people who work in dangerous conditions to build these paths which enable us to traverse these amazing landscape. I am sure none of their names appear on the sign posts bragging about their achievements.

It's best if people adorn their bikes, cars or riding jackets with such stickers rather than littering on important sign posts.
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Old 2nd August 2017, 09:19   #15
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Default re: Bike & car groups vandalizing road signs in the Himalayas

And don't forget those colour prayer flags people have tied on the mountains in Khardungla. They are ugly as well.

Having been to all these locations, I can definitely understand the elation, sense of satisfaction, a sense of achievement and pride associated with driving/riding there. Even "leaving a mark" is fine but definitely not on these public boards.

Irony of this topic would be that many of these people who paste stickers would have fought with their car service centres for pasting a sticker on their car after service is done.
They say why should I advertise your service centre? I want to ask those people-"Why not?" the service centre guys would've taken efforts and pride in servicing a car and hence they would've pasted their sticker!

I was there 5 years ago. I was part of a group of which I had stickers and that group was TeamBHP. With a sense of Pride, I had pasted the LiveToDrive on our Safari at the start of the trip and then the entire sticker pack was left at home. No way would I part with a sticker and paste it where I may not see it again!

Quote:
Originally Posted by iamahunter View Post
Taking both these scenarios in consideration, I think its best to put a plain white board besides these landmark road signs for the riders/drivers to put their stickers on. Possibly serves both the purpose. Just a thought...
Even I have the same thought. Put a big board with a title "WALL OF FAME" or something like that. This way everyone will be happy and it will actually be a nice attraction too. It's like the provision made for locks in many bridges in Europe. Convert this bad habit and an act of Vandalism into an art installation, an highlight of that location

This is something like what we do to a child at home. if the child starts writing on walls, instead of scolding that child, get him/her a board to write on.

Quote:
Originally Posted by trek View Post
It's best if people adorn their bikes, cars or riding jackets with such stickers rather than littering on important sign posts.
Exactly,My car, My pride, My sticker, My wish!
I got those flags from the souvenir shop at Khardungla top and put it in my car. I also recently got the following sticker for my car
Bike & car groups vandalizing road signs in the Himalayas-img20170717wa0029.jpg

Last edited by hemanth.anand : 2nd August 2017 at 09:27.
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