The Karnataka State Government is planning to ban pillion riding on two-wheelers with engine capacity of 100 cc or less. The transport department of the Karnataka has decided to enforce this ban considering the safety of pillion riders who, they claim are, too often, victims of road accidents. In fact, the state government has already filed an affidavit in the High Court, while the official circular is expected to roll out in a week's time, according to Bangalore Mirror.
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." The report also has a statement from a senior officer from the transport department, who said that according to 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.
The report also says that the ban won't affect two-wheelers that are already in use, but only the new vehicles that are being sold and the upcoming models. This means two-wheeler manufacturers will now have to ensure that all new vehicles with an engine capacity up to 100 cc, has seating option for only the rider. Buyer too will be prohibited from making provision for a pillion rider and dealers cannot offer them as an optional accessory as well. If anyone alters a newly purchased bike and makes way for another seat, it would amount to overloading and will be penalised, said Transport commissioner, B Dayananda.
All that said, most of the two-wheelers that are currently on sale in India, are above the 100 cc engine capacity, so, this might not have a huge impact on sales. But, this sure raises the question as to how effective will this step be and also whether such a rule is needed at all, considering the fact that these two-wheelers are already low on power and the addition of a pillion doesn't really compromise their safety as long as both the rider and the pillion are taking safety precautions and are wearing helmets.