Feroz, a tailor from Jayanagar in South Bengaluru, lives with his family of four. His family doesn’t own a car, all they have is a 100cc motorcycle. He knows it is illegal, but if an entire family must move around, all four must fit on one motorcycle.
Feroz is far from alone. Low-cost motorcycles are essential to middle class aspirations across the country.
This is not true in the case of just Feroz. Considering elements like convenience and affordability, two-wheelers have been a mirror to middle class aspirations over the years.
Decoding the Provisions of the Ban
Based on a 2015 Karnataka High Court order, the government has banned pillion riders on two-wheelers with an engine capacity of less than 100cc. As per the rule, auto manufacturers are prohibited from creating a provision for pillion riders in 100 cc motorcycles. Pillion riding is not permitted even on vehicles that are already registered.
Ban to Affect the Aspirations of Many
The average price of a 125 cc motorcycle is Rs 50,000. Most middle-class families do not have the financial capacity to buy a moped with a high engine capacity.
My 100 cc motorcycle itself cost me Rs 35,000. I cannot afford to buy an additional vehicle. I have been managing all these years since at least two of my family members could travel on the moped. I am unable to think of an alternative now.Vijay, a tea-stall owner
Since the time the ban has come into effect, Manohar, a mechanic in South Bengaluru, is concerned about the safety of his daughters. “My daughters Shalini and Sehal have been riding a moped to college covering a distance of 40 kilometres every day. I didn’t have to be worried about their safety all these days since both of them rode together. But now, since the ban has been implemented, I am worried. My monthly income is menial and it is not possible for me to pay for an auto or a cab every day,” said Manohar.
Government Justifies the Ban
The ban has been implemented in the backdrop of a previous case in which a minor pillion rider was crippled for life following a road accident in Mysuru in March, 2009. A circular about the new rule has already been issued to heads of Regional Transport Offices (RTOs).
We have implemented the ban since pillion riders are often victims of road accidents. Besides, if more than one person is accommodated on a 100 cc vehicle, it will lead to overloading.Section Official, Karnataka Transport Department
The move will affect lakhs of commuters across the state. The ban will have a significant implication on affordability and accessibility of transport for common folk.
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