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WOMEN + SAFETY IN BANGALORE

As a group of women from a variety of backgrounds, we felt the need to share our experiences with you on how safe Bangalore is – according to us. One of the most asked questions when we are going somewhere, to travel, for work or even a move would be on whether we and our families will be safe. In this article, we shed some light on how we perceive Bangalore’s safety.*

 

*We share the results of our survey of 90 women living in Bangalore about their feelings on safety below!

 


ROAD SAFETY 


TRAFFIC

Looking at pictures of Indian traffic you might have an idea of what to expect. Yet nothing compares to when you’re actually standing in front of your first-ever street crossing. Although most expats mainly commute by car and driver, a few of us hit the road on a scooter, motorbike or drive our own car. Anticipation is key in the Indian traffic, so never wear headphones. Your ears play an important part in sensing what is happening behind you. You will start to understand the language of honking when participating in traffic. There is an unwritten rule that you are responsible for everything that happens in front of you. Don’t drive tired, you do need full attention. 

 

How to cross a road in India? 

  1. Check your surroundings, take your time

    1. How fast is the driving speed?

    2. What are the locals doing nearby? (if no-one is crossing, don’t cross)

    3. Is there a safer crossing nearby? (flyover bridge / tunnel / traffic light)

    4. Do you have a full view of the road? (never cross in a curve)

 

  1. After observing the situation, make your call

    1. There is always an alternative (you can stop an autorickshaw and ask them to drop you on the other side).

    2. Whatever call you make, do it with confidence. Insecurity is deadly in Indian traffic.

 

  1. Off you go, remember:

    1. Try to stick close to a local and move perfectly in line with them.

    2. Keep walking, as the cars will anticipate on your walking speed. Do not stop abruptly. Take a sprint if you need.

    3. Make sure you see what the drivers of the cars approaching you do, but do not make explicit eye contact.

    4. Use your “hand of god” by holding it low in front of the car, this does help.

 

ROAD CONDITIONS

Apart from traffic, another important road safety aspect is the road condition. The road condition is extremely bad in some places: potholes, loose pot decks and unannounced parts of the unpaved roads make it a true obstacle race. The danger increases when it has rained, and all of this is covered under rain puddles. Take care and never drive a road at night/wet which you do not know by heart.

Feeling adventurous and want to ride yourself, there are plenty of app-based rentals available. To name a few:

Yulu

Bounce

Zoomcar

Author and her husband on their motorcycle

 


GETTING AROUND


 

RENTAL BICYCLES / SCOOTERS / CARS

Yulu and Bounce are both apps that allow you to book a bicycle or scooter via an app. Once registered and paid you unlock your ride via a QR code. Yulu also has some electric scooters that are very convenient to go around. Zoomcar is a similar app for renting cars, some you have to pick up at location but there is even a service that delivers you the car to home.

 

TAXIS/AUTOS

If the paragraph before discouraged you to hit the road by yourself, there are – luckily – plenty of alternatives to get yourself driven around in the city. Two of the most used modes of transport are UBER and OLA. The platforms are rather similar, and work based on an app and location sharing. Autorickshaws can be hailed from the street but are also available on the mentioned apps. Most expats have cars with drivers. For safety-approved business travel, you can reach out to Carclub and E-cars to book an airport pick-up or driver for the day.

 

PUBLIC TRANSPORT

Public transport is extremely safe. There are 2 kinds of buses that operate-white buses (Bengaluru Sarige) and Blue buses (Vayu Vajra). Both kinds connect every major part of the city, and usually occupied, even at odd hours! You can get more details about routes and ticket fees from https://www.mybmtc.karnataka.gov.in/english.

The metro seems to scare a lot of the expats, but there is really no reason! The Bangalore Metro is clean, fast, well air-conditioned and super safe. Unfortunately, the connectivity is not as great as the Delhi metro so it doesn’t do much for those living in Whitefield or down south, but if you are in Indiranagar and want to take your guests to KR Market, for instance, it’s the way to go. If you are commuting alone, use the women only compartments for extra comfort. The trains run from 5 AM or 5.30 AM depending on the route, all the way to midnight. Shorter routes cost approximately 10 rupees, making it one of the most cost-effective ways to move around town.

 


DRESS CODE


What to wear is an everyday question, but when it comes to your safety, it’s a rather necessary thing to consider. The city of Bangalore is rather modern when it comes to fashion. You will see a fusion of western and ethnic wear on the streets. In party locations, ladies tend to go dressed in knee-length dresses revealing shoulders. On the streets, knees are covered, and tops are decent. Remember that even when you go out that you will have to commute back, and you might want to consider wearing something less revealing when sitting on the backseat of an autorickshaw. When visiting temples, it is advised to cover your knees and shoulders as a sign of respect. In the office people tend to wear rather casual clothes (Indian and western), sandals are no exception. Dresses are long enough to cover the knee and shoulders are generally not shown. Bear in mind that AC is very present in offices so do not dress up in a summer dress. 

 


AT NIGHT


In general, most of us feel safe at night, yet the “big city” considerations are also valid in Bangalore. Prearranging transport can be beneficial as you will know who is going to be driving you home and are not reliant on the availability of Ubers. Always try to commute with someone else – even if this means you have to take a longer route. Use rated drivers using the Uber/OLA apps and always share your location with someone. Do confirm with your friends once you have reached home. It goes without saying, but you are at more risk if you are drunk.

 


KIDS


GENERAL 

Overall, most expat parents feel that their children are very safe in Bangalore. The local community loves children and this shows when you leave your home, but the attention may not always be easy to deal with for little ones and parents alike. The fascination with foreign children, especially those with light hair is huge and overbearing. Being photographed without permission, being asked to pose in pictures with your children, touching, stroking and pinching faces (they believe it is good luck for the child) is not uncommon. None of it is meant in a bad way, it stems from pure fascination and friendliness, but feel free to be firm and say no if you or your children are uncomfortable.

 

ROAD SAFETY

Bangalore is not what one would call a stroller-friendly city. At all. Uneven sidewalks, complete lack of sidewalks, potholes and uneven roads all make it very difficult for strollers/ children’s scooter and bikes. Not to mention the lack of crosswalks (flyovers may not have elevators so you’d have to carry it up and down the stairs). For younger babies and toddlers, a baby carrier/wrap is your best bet when traveling around on foot.

 

GETTING AROUND

If you are traveling with your own car and driver, a car seat or booster seat is never a bad idea. You can also choose to bring your own when using a Uber or Ola but keep in mind that the loading and unloading process may need to be quick depending on if the origin/destination is on the side (or middle) of a busy road. Same goes for collapsing and getting a stroller out of a taxi or auto.

 

 


SURVEY RESULTS


We have surveyed 90 women living in Bangalore from different backgrounds (stay-at-home expats, working locals, working expats, stay home locals) to find out how safe they feel in Bangalore.

On a scale of 1-10 (1 being not safe at all), when asked how safe they felt in Bangalore in general, the result was 7.7

 

TIPS FROM WOMEN IN BANGALORE

  • When a car blinks/hints with the headlight this does not mean “please go ahead”. It is basically a nonverbal horn “I’m coming and not stopping”. This is the opposite of Europe.

  • Carry pepper spray and a scarf.

  • Do not immerse yourself on the phone when being outside but keep observing what is going on around you.

  • Stay in touch with someone on call / share your location while taking a cab late in the night.

  • Try not to travel alone after 10 pm.

  • Always check the rating of your driver and share the vehicle number.

  • Share location with someone either via the app or via WhatsApp location sharing.

  • Keep google maps open to track if the route to your destination is according to plan.

  • Have emergency numbers on speed dial on your phone.

  • Pre-book your transport, if you are going out alone at night and always make sure someone knows where you are and how you are getting home.

 

In general, take regular safety precautions but don’t panic! Bangalore is very safe and things like getting your phone snatched on the road can happen here as much as anywhere in the world.

 

Florentina P.

Florentina (Floor) lives with her husband Tom and dog Roti in Bellandur, Bangalore. She works as an IT professional and loves travelling and tasting cultures. After 2 world trips and a lot of travels through South East Asia, South America, Africa, and Europe, her assignment in Bangalore is the perfect way to explore India and the surrounding region. Favorite activities whilst travelling include sports: scuba diving, skiing, hiking, running and mountain biking, to compensate for the nice dinners, cooking classes and tasting of local specialties.

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