In a move which seems rather strange, the Government of Karnataka is about to ban pillion riders on two-wheelers which are powered by engines smaller than 100cc. The state’s transport department has stated that such a measure will ensure the safety of pillion riders who are often victims of road accidents. They could’ve thought about making it mandatory for pillion riders to wear safety gear too. But no. Also, the ban will not affect existing two-wheelers but will apply to only new ones which will be sold.
Once the ban is enforced, manufacturers will be asked to make alterations to their products so that there’s space only for the rider. Dealers will be prohibited from offering a pillion seat as an accessory and even owners who try to make any provisions for a pillion rider on their own will be penalised for overloading. The State government has already filed an affidavit in the High Court, where an official circular is expected to roll out in a week’s time.
Complying with the Karnataka Motor Vehicle Rules, 1989, a notification to this effect was issued by the Transport Department on October 16th. According to the rule “No pillion seat shall be attached to a motorcycle with less than 100 cc engine”. The purpose behind it is to prevent pillion riders becoming easy victims of accidents. However, the state used to issue ‘type approval’ certificates manufacturers until now, allowing them to sell their two-wheelers attached with pillion rider seat against the rules till now. This contradiction was pointed out by the Karnataka High Court recently while hearing an accident insurance case from Mysuru involving a minor.
Karnataka’s Transport Minister HM Revanna told Bangalore Mirror that the government is only complying with the Motor Vehicles Act. He said, “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 100cc.”
Explaining the reason behind such a decision, the state’s 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 the 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.”