India is a land of diverse culture and an abundance of natural beauty. The best way to explore this scenic beauty is on a bike. The gearing of wheels, soft strokes of wind and sound of nature, is all at once powerful and thrilling. But in excitement, it is you must not forget that Indian roads and traffic situation is not very ideal for bike riders. India accounts for more than 5 lakh road accidents annually, which is one of the highest in the world. While the government has pledged to reduce at least 50% accidents over the next five years, it is also critical that you render your cooperation in the matter.
Here are some tips to follow before riding in a bike in India:
- Choose an appropriate bike: The most important thing to remember before you head on the road is to ride a bike that you can handle. Do not opt for a two-wheeler because of its large size, engine capacity, flamboyant design, etc. Instead, choose a vehicle that you can drive with ease. There are multiple good-looking bikes and scooters, which also offer great mileage and overall performance. So, ride a bike that suits your physical capacity and also fits in your budget.
- Never forget a helmet: Traffic and driving rules exist for a reason. They are put in place to ensure your safety on the road. An important rule is to wear a helmet while driving a two-wheeler. Often people consider buying a helmet as an unnecessary expenditure and therefore, compromise on the quality to save some money. However, as a conscious citizen, you should invest in a good helmet that will work best to protect your head from any injury or damage. Ensure you buy a helmet with an ISI certification. The protective gear should cover your whole face, including the jaws, and should ideally have a plastic shield to prevent any disturbance while driving.
- Be visible on the road: When you are driving on Indian roads, make yourself visible to other drivers, especially large cars, trucks, buses, etc. For this purpose, you can stick reflective bands on the back of your helmet, and in the front and back of your bike. You could also choose a bright colour helmet to gain attention. Especially while driving at night or under extreme weather conditions, you can ensure your blinkers and headlights are on when required. Try to avoid driving in the blind spot of large four-wheelers.
- Avoid driving in bad weather: No matter how exciting the thought of a drive in the rain or fog is, it is best if you do not ride your bike in such extreme weather situations. These conditions can hamper your visibility and also make you less prominent on the road. This will further increase your chances of meeting an accident. In case of emergencies, you can wear bright helmets or keep the headlights turned on to make sure you are seen by other drivers.
- Check the condition of your bike: If you are a bike lover, this will come very easy to you. But if you ride a bike for mere transportation, do not forget to keep a tab on the overall health of your two-wheeler. Analyse the air pressure in the tyres, brakes, clutch, headlights, etc. before you head out. Also, get your bike service regularly to keep it functioning properly and gain better mileage.
- Follow all rules: Do not break traffic rules intentionally. Each regulation has a back-up logic. So, best to not break the rules when driving your bike. Avoid breaking traffic signals, or drive under the influence of alcohol or any other substance. Do not speed-drive or make rash efforts to overtake. Also, do not honk unnecessarily or ride without a licence. Check bike insurance and keep your pollution certifications, ID proof, vehicle registration, etc. handy.
- Buy holistic two-wheeler insurance: Accidents and third-party damages can cause a dent in your pocket. Checking the bike insurance policy before you hit the road is a good idea. Two-wheeler insurance will protect you and your bike against any natural or man-made calamity, which might cause a financial loss. According to the Motor Vehicle Act, third-party insurance policy for a two-wheeler is mandatory in India. If your insurance expires, you can renew bike insurance online easily. But before you get bike insurance online, do compare different policies and make an informed decision.
Apart from these tips, here is some quick advice to assure your safety on the road:
- Avoid riding a bike or any other vehicle when you are angry, depressed, or experiencing any other emotion-high
- Prevent eating heavy food while driving to avoid falling asleep
- Always ride within speed-limits, irrespective of how empty the roads are or what time of the day it is
- Be cautious while driving on the road. Avoid listening to music or talking on the phone
- Do not ride a two-wheeler with more than one passenger
- Keep your bike at a safe distance from other vehicles
- Avoid getting distracted by horns, lights, street-side activities, etc.
- Refrain from applying smart-driving tricks like weaving in and out of extreme traffic
- Do not race or tease some other driver
- Avoid sharp turns or overtaking at junctions, railway or pedestrian crossings, etc.
Be a responsible driver, follow the rules, get reliable bike insurance online and drive with utmost safety. Life is precious. Be safe!