The state government is all set to ban pillion riding on two-wheelers that have an engine capacity of 100 cc or below. The ban, however, will not affect two-wheelers that are already in use, but will be applicable for any new vehicle being sold. While manufacturers will have to ensure such bikes have seating for only the rider, the buyer too will be prohibited from making provision for a pillion rider.
The transport department has decided to enforce the ban in view of the safety of pillion riders who are, too often, victims in road accidents. To this end, the state government has even filed an affidavit before the High Court, and the official circular may be out in a week’s time.
Confirming the move, Transport Minister HM Revanna told Bangalore Mirror that the government is only complying with the Motor Vehicles Act. “The High Court of Karnataka had sought an explanation from the state government while hearing an accident case in which a youngster had died. Responding to the HC’s direction, we filed an affidavit that we will comply with the Motor Vehicles Act, which does not allow pillion riding on bikes up to 100 cc.”
A senior officer from the transport department said: “Going by the provisions of Motor Vehicles’ Act, any bike or scooter with an engine capacity up to 100 cc should not have provision for a pillion rider. However, these rules were relaxed based on the recommendations of Indian Road Congress. This will not be the case, henceforth.”
A majority of two-wheelers in the market today are above 100 cc engine capacity, so the ban may not change life on the road drastically.
Transport commissioner B Dayananda said: “We have told the HC that we will comply with its direction and provisions under the Act. Under the rule, the vehicle manufacturer cannot provide seats for pillion rider. But the rule does not apply to bikes that are already in use. However, if anyone alters a newly purchased bike and makes way for another seat, it would amount to overloading and will be penalised.”
According to a traffic expert, pillion riders are often vulnerable. “While a majority of two-wheeler riders get away with minor fractures or injuries during an accident, pillion riders are often gravely injured. The government’s decision would make a difference on this account,” said the expert.
However, not everybody is convinced of the move. Ashish Verma, transport expert and a faculty at Indian Institute of Science, told BM: “Why this, all of a sudden? If it was already a part of Motor Vehicles Act, then why was it not being enforced – among so many other rules. Take the helmet rule, for example. How effective it is?”
“Take, for example, plastic ban. How serious are we? To my understanding, two-wheelers are meant for two people, irrespective of its engine capacity,” he added.
A retired IAS officer, however, backed the move and said: “Only after bringing to light the helmet enforcement, it was implemented. If something like this is there, then it should be enforced seriously. However, bikes are always for two and not more and this applies even to vehicles if 350 cc capacity. This is all done because a recognised institution would have tested and checked the capacity and other possible things.”
Prof Shanmukha Nagaraja, Department of Mechanical Engineering, RV College of Engineering, told BM: “The move is right. We had the Luna 50 CC and other such bikes. These are not meant to carry heavy loads… This rule should be enforced to ensure there are fewer accidents. But the concern now will be – will it spawn more vehicles on the road?”