The year 2014 has been a disaster for India in terms of bike accidents. According to statistics, 22.3% of those who died in road accidents were two-wheeler riders. In an attempt to make the roads safer for both bikers and other travellers, Maharashtra transport minister Diwakar Raote announced that anyone seeking a two-wheeler license in Mumbai will have to sign an indemnity bond, promising to abide by all traffic rules and regulations.
The new move was announced on Monday during a 15-day road safely program and the transport department confirmed that this new rule will apply only to two-wheelers.
"The Supreme Court has made helmets compulsory for the riders (of two-wheelers), but a majority of bike-riders do not follow the directive," Raote said, according to a Mid-Day report. "The thought to get indemnity bonds signed by bikers came to me after seeing many of them riding without helmets. Bikers violate rules more frequently than drivers of four-wheelers and other vehicles."
However, the minister didn't reveal any information about the deadline for the proposal's implementation. He said that the new bond will help traffic police build a strong case against offenders so that they can be duly punished.
During the safety program, the BMC were also requested to make zebra crossings for pedestrians bolder.
"The safety programme may be restricted to 15 days, but my department will try to reach out to vehicle owners/drivers and pedestrians throughout the year," the minister said. "We don't want to earn money for the government through penalties, but we want to decrease violations by hiking the penalty."
He added that the penalty for traffic violation may be increased so that defaulters think twice before violating any traffic rule.
A 2013 report by Yahoo noted that India ranked first when it came to deaths in road accidents. Two-wheelers make up for 60 to 70% of vehicles on the road. The Times of India reported that during a special drive in front of the Mantralaya between 11 am and 2 pm on Monday, the traffic authorities caught hold of 60 bikers and motorists for violating rules, including not wearing helmets. They recovered fines totaling INR 6,000 from them.