Protected areas: speed limits for show!

The road between Masinagudi and Ooty crosses the core of the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve. The speed limit is 30 km per hour to avoid accidents with protected wildlife that includes the endangered tiger. But it does not make any difference. People do what they like.

It takes 11 m to stop a car going at 30 km per hour ( I personally go in third gear at no more than 50 km per hour, when the stopping distance is 24 m. I feel I am safe with wildlife because the visibility is good. It happened to me to avoid spotted deer rushing out of the jungle. Having said that, don’t imagine that I am a rash driver. I am the slowest driver in the region. With our old Bolero I overtake only when a city car is slowed by a speed breaker. Otherwise buses are going faster (maybe 60 km per hour, or 32 meters to stop), jeep taxis and small buses are going faster (put 70 km per hour or 42 meters to stop) and tourists, well put often 80 km per hour (or 53 meters to stop).

Anyone can kill a tiger and if they were not already so rare, it would happen.

This is a typical instance where the law is strict but totally ineffective. Firstly, it does not make sense and 30 km per hour is an exaggeration put in place by someone who forgot to think. It does not serve any purpose and as a proof, the speed limit in the Bandipur Tiger Reserve is 40 km per hour. Secondly, even though this law is strict, it is never implemented. I have never witnessed anyone getting a ticket for over speed and I guaranty every car goes above the speed limit. Thirdly, it can be used to criminalize anyone. For example, if you drive at 80 km per hour on this road and rush to give this opinion piece to the police, I could be getting a ticket for over speed! Isn’t the world beautiful?

Jean-Philippe Puyravaud