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Old 8th July 2011, 13:27   #1
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Default Need tips on averting more disasters due to an invisible obstacle

These snaps are of the road running in front of my home in Kerala. Once a dead-end ending at the Achenkoil river, this road is today quite busy after a bridge was built over the river some years ago. The Bolero and the Alto in the snaps below are approaching after taking a sweeping right turn. Do you see a serious hazard in the picture that presents danger mostly due to the fact that it is not visible, even during day ? At night, it is trouble waiting to happen.

Need tips on averting more disasters due to an invisible obstacle-dsc00205.jpg


Need tips on averting more disasters due to an invisible obstacle-dsc03073.jpg


Do you see it in this picture which is taken from the other end of the road ?
Need tips on averting more disasters due to an invisible obstacle-dsc03074.jpg


I am sure many Tbhp-ians would have noticed the hazard in the previous snaps, being the sharp guys they are. If you still did not, the clue is the clump of grass on the left side of the road in the 3rd snap with the Sumo.

What looks like a clump of grass is actually hiding a car-wrecker as a couple of cars unfortunately found out in the recent past. It is actually a milestone, which indicates 1km to the nearest junction. When I was a kid, the milestone was properly visible with quite a part of it above the soil. But with roads gaining altitude due to being relaid once in a year or two, this milestone is not really visible. Add the clump of grass and it is a trap.

The vehicles come at high speed after negotiating the sweeping curve and if they hit this milestone, the tyres & rims are goners, not to mention the car going out of control. A couple of weeks ago this happened to a Swift - he had to leave his car near my home and go get new rims/tyres before he could take away his car. I know of another similar incident with an Omni. Cars can be repaired, but imagine what would happen if a biker hits this ?

I have been thinking what could be done to avoid more disasters due to this milestone. Obviously the best way would be to remove it, but since it belongs to the Highways department, you cannot just uproot and throw it away. Also, it is not easy to uproot this stone. A request/application to the PWD might help, but not sure I have the time to chase those guys.

I thought of sticking/strapping reflectors on the stone, but that would help only during night. Plus no guarantee that it would not be removed by pranksters.

Finally I decided to highlight the hazard such that people are aware of its presence. So last Sunday, I first cleaned up all the grass around it to expose the stone. My son Aman was around for moral support and for asking umpteen questions.
Need tips on averting more disasters due to an invisible obstacle-dsc03075.jpg


Then I made a red-flag from an old t-shirt of Aman's & tied it to a bamboo twig which I then planted near the stone. I know that the twig could have been taller / stronger, but I was worried about someone getting hurt by the twig itself. So this is how it currently looks.
Need tips on averting more disasters due to an invisible obstacle-dsc03084.jpg

If you guys have any more ideas (am sure you have), do post here so that any more accidents due to this could be averted.

Last edited by supremeBaleno : 8th July 2011 at 14:46.
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Old 8th July 2011, 15:13   #2
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Default Re: Need tips on averting more disasters due to an invisible obstacle

Paint it bright yellow, and line up 2-3 flags before the obstacle, rather than on the obstacle
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Old 8th July 2011, 15:24   #3
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Default Re: Need tips on averting more disasters due to an invisible obstacle

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Old 8th July 2011, 15:43   #4
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Default Re: Need tips on averting more disasters due to an invisible obstacle

@tsk1979, painting yellow is indeed a great idea - one of the most visible colors indeed. But wondering whether the authorities will see this as a violation - though as it stands now, the milestone is not conveying any useful information.

The local councillor/chairman is a senior at college and generally a helpful kind. Could maybe use his office to have this relocated, if not removed.
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Old 8th July 2011, 15:47   #5
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Default Re: Need tips on averting more disasters due to an invisible obstacle

Biju, have it dug up and placed in a more visible way. And then paint it. If you dig it up, then move it a little to the side.

Another option - Bengaluru style: speed breakers.
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Old 8th July 2011, 16:07   #6
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Default Re: Need tips on averting more disasters due to an invisible obstacle

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Originally Posted by supremeBaleno View Post

The local councillor/chairman is a senior at college and generally a helpful kind. Could maybe use his office to have this relocated, if not removed.
Commendable job, SB. Really appreciate your concern man, great work!


Since you know this chap, request him to get it removed. If that is not possible, ask them to install a new stone. Or they could mark the particular spot with with white paint and reflectors.
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Old 8th July 2011, 16:09   #7
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Default Re: Need tips on averting more disasters due to an invisible obstacle

Biju sir, Its best to remove this things before it takes someone's life.
It nevertheless is not serving any purpose so better get rid of it. Now where is that sledge hammer!!

Condor: Digging out this thing can cause some problem/violation, like stealing govt property etc. These things are usually quite heavy & deeply rooted. In fact during one of my road surveys we were informed by local PWD dept that these things can withstand a direct impact from trucks.

IMHO it would be best to ground it to the level.
OR paint it YELLOW & put some retro-reflecting tapes on both sides. You may get those left out odd pieces from number plate making shops.

Raab Rakha.
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Old 8th July 2011, 17:03   #8
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Default Re: Need tips on averting more disasters due to an invisible obstacle

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Originally Posted by supremeBaleno View Post
Do you see a serious hazard in the picture that presents danger mostly due to the fact that it is not visible, even during day ? At night, it is trouble waiting to happen.
Actually in the night, you can always make out a vehicle coming on by its headlights. So I would feel the danger is less at night.

However you could construct (rather get constructed) speed breakers a few meters from the start of the curve to ensure vehicles slow down. Please do make sure the speed breakers if erected, are marked and proper signages displayed. It would be bad to have accidents because of the speed breakers which were meant to prevent accidents.

You could also fit big mirrors near the apex of the curve so that any vehicles can see oncoming traffic in the mirror.

And a pat on your back for the clearing of the stone. Great initiative.
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Old 8th July 2011, 18:47   #9
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Default Re: Need tips on averting more disasters due to an invisible obstacle

Kudos to this concern/effort, supremeBaleno

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....If you guys have any more ideas ...
Maybe the flag should be in the center of the stone ( it is to the left side now) ?. Better visibility of the flag.
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Old 8th July 2011, 19:17   #10
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Default Re: Need tips on averting more disasters due to an invisible obstacle

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Originally Posted by condor
Biju, have it dug up and placed in a more visible way. And then paint it. If you dig it up, then move it a little to the side.
Yes, moving it to the side & more visible is an option I will pursue with the councillor - let's see what comes out of it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sachinj12
Since you know this chap, request him to get it removed. If that is not possible, ask them to install a new stone. Or they could mark the particular spot with with white paint and reflectors.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ariesonu
Its best to remove this things before it takes someone's life.
True. As it is our roads are dangerous, without these hazards.

Quote:
Originally Posted by honeybee
However you could construct (rather get constructed) speed breakers a few meters from the start of the curve to ensure vehicles slow down.
A good idea, but people everywhere hate speedbreakers - not sure if this will work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blue Thunder
Maybe the flag should be in the center of the stone ( it is to the left side now) ?. Better visibility of the flag.
Initially I thought of planting the flag in the centre, then was worried that if some biker/cyclist falls on it, it could create harm than good - so moved it to the side. But yes, visibility could be better - a taller bamboo for the flag.

The "painting it yellow" is high on the list as a temp solution - permanent solution being to move this stone. Though not sure if painting it will be termed against the law by officialdom.

Last edited by supremeBaleno : 8th July 2011 at 19:18.
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Old 8th July 2011, 19:21   #11
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Default Re: Need tips on averting more disasters due to an invisible obstacle

First things first. I really admire your concern about safety. That's the first tip. Be safety minded.

At the same time, I find it incredible - and disturbing - that we are worried about consequences of getting rid of the trap that this milestone has become rather than about lives it puts at stake. I think people who have had their cars damaged should sue the civic authorities for upkeep of the milestone for dereliction of duty - and more. We need an activist group which makes the lives of those who through negligence or their lackadaisical approach endanger the lives of others. And do so aggressively.

There are myriad invisible dangers lurking on the roads in India. And this happens even on roads that we are familiar with.

I know of no easy formula how to handle this except to be very alert and careful when navigating an unfamiliar road, and to always be at speeds where safe evasive action is possible.

I know, this is easier said (written!) than done.

Proper driver training, stricter (but sensible) licensing regulations and processes, and holding those responsible for road construction, repairs and maintenance accountable to the kind of neglect you point out.

Last edited by SushilBajpai : 8th July 2011 at 19:23. Reason: Spellings and grammar
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Old 9th July 2011, 16:42   #12
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Default Re: Need tips on averting more disasters due to an invisible obstacle

Quote:
Originally Posted by SushilBajpai
At the same time, I find it incredible - and disturbing - that we are worried about consequences of getting rid of the trap that this milestone has become rather than about lives it puts at stake. I think people who have had their cars damaged should sue the civic authorities for upkeep of the milestone for dereliction of duty - and more.
You are right - it is a pity that we are worried about legal issues due to removing this death-trap, instead of going ahead and uprooting/throwing it away. If this was say in the US, the Swift guy would have taken our municipality to the cleaners for the damage to his car and for the trauma, any potential accidents that could have been caused due to loss of control after hitting this etc.
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Old 9th July 2011, 17:08   #13
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Default Re: Need tips on averting more disasters due to an invisible obstacle

Good job in planting a redflag
However this can only be a temporary solution. You never know when it will go missing.
I think it's best to get it removed, as the milestone is not serving any purpose. Involve a few helpful neighbors if you can.
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Old 10th July 2011, 08:16   #14
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Default Re: Need tips on averting more disasters due to an invisible obstacle

Kudos, not many people are like you, who are willing to make an effort to ensure others' safety. Now on the problem..
If a law is not broken when posters are stuck on the public buildings, or the advertisements painted on public places, why should it be so if the head of (mile)stone buried till its neck be called lawbreaking? In fact I have seen many defaced milestones, some of them wherein people have tried to change the numbers. I am sure they were never caught and concerned department is anyway too lazy to do up the damaged milestone.
The stone could be painted in bright yellow, or even better, alternating strips of yellow and black.
The flag will not stay. as you said, some pranksters will surely take it away.
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Old 10th July 2011, 08:41   #15
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Default Re: Need tips on averting more disasters due to an invisible obstacle

SB, Congrats, you have taken this up in right spirit, becoming of a true TBhpian. Good work.

For the time being till it is permanently re-located, paste some red reflecting tape so that it will be visible during night also.

The road relaying agency ought to have done a proper job along with the road work.
This is the manner in which govt mechanisms, especially civil engineering and civic administrative, work in God's own land.

Last edited by rajeev k : 10th July 2011 at 08:44.
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