KERALA

Safety features for two-wheelers mooted

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM Jan. 3. The National Transportation Planning and Research Centre (Natpac) has suggested that safety features may be made mandatory in scooters and motorcycles and the cost included in the Maximum Retail Price (MRP) quoted by dealers in view of the unprecedented spurt in two-wheeler mishaps in the State.

Though the drivers' fault is reported as the major cause of accidents, the role played by adverse road conditions and poor safety features of the vehicles also cannot be understated, according to a Natpac study.

The study points out that two-wheelers in particular are soft targets of rash and negligent behaviour of heavy vehicles.

They are hit from the back by speeding heavy vehicles and consequently the driver and pillion-rider are thrown off the vehicle.

The Motor Vehicles Act of 1988, the Central Motor Vehicles Rules of 1989 and Kerala Motor Vehicle Rules of 1989 have specified certain minimum safety features for two-wheelers.

Often, more than two persons of a family travel on a two- wheeler and that too without any safety device for pillion riders ignoring Section 128 of the Motor Vehicles Act.

According to the study, statistics show that pillion riders have a greater chance of injury or fatality in the event of an accident than the two-wheeler driver. There have been instances when the pillion rider has been thrown several metres from the accident spot under the impact of the collision.

The Central Motor Vehicles Rules and the Kerala Motor Vehicles Rules have specified a permanent hand grip on the side or behind the drivers seat, foot rest for the pillion riders and a protective device covering not less than half of the rear wheel so as to prevent the clothes of the person riding pillion from getting entangled in the wheel.

A suitable sprung cushion seat and a hand grip fitted to the front of the pillion seat are also mandatory.

According to Natpac, the safety devices required by pillion riders are not provided many a time.

The main reason cited is that those purchasing the two-wheeler never buy these safety devices as they are generally provided as extra fittings.

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