As thousands of bikers from all over the country rolled into Vagator to attend the two-day (or is it three day) India Bike Week 2022, the issue of overall road safety, especially for bikers and two-wheeler riders , has emerged as one of the talking points of the event.
Road safety has been a matter of concern in Goa, especially in wake of a spate of accidents – many of them fatal — involving two wheelers.
According to Goa Traffic Police data, January to October this year witnessed 202 road mishaps resulting in fatalities, 126 of whom comprised of two-wheeler riders.
Motorcycle manufacturers as well as bike enthusiasts in the country have in recent times launched initiatives to reduce road accidents, increase road awareness and underline the importance of good road engineering, like Royal Enfield with its ‘Pothole Raja’ initiative.
Pothole Raja recently concluded a joint awareness campaign to promote helmet adoption in Goa, while also shining a light on the subject of road safety awareness. Volunteers also repaired a large number of gaping potholes as part of the campaign.
Karl Coelho, founder of Scan Patch, runs one of the many commercial stalls set up at India Bike Week. Coelho, a biker himself, has come up with a unique safety device, which can be worn in form of a path on a biker’s gear, which provides all the critical medical details about the biker in case of an accident, thus hastening treatment.
“The safety gear in the form of a fabric patch contains a scannable chip fixed on any part of your clothing wear, which enables the owner to store all the emergency information such as address, blood group, allergies, insurance, location and other functions. In the case of an accident, all the information is available in one ready place for paramedics,” says Karl.
According to another IBW participant, Anand Dharmaraj, owner of Indiemotard Adventures and T.W.O Track riding school, it is important to ensure that those without valid licenses are not allowed on Indian roads.
Global bike companies like Ducati, he says, have already slipped in safety measure in their motorcycle production processes.
“Companies like Ducati have included key features into their motorcycles using radar and give more information to the rider as to their location, lane changes and vehicles nearby in the mirror itself. Obviously, it would pose a challenge to implement it in India with its high volume of vehicles and speed differentiation. IBW is a great stage to conduct demonstrations on road safety programmes and to educate people on their vehicles,” he added.
According to Abdullah Sayad, head of sales at The Bike Shop Racing, installing cameras and fine imposition is required to bring down the road accident rate.
“Apart from that, roads are plagued with potholes and that increases accident risk. People need to be more knowledgeable about their two-wheelers, assess its weaknesses and strengths to ride more efficiently. There needs to be a joint effort from the government and the citizens to improve road safety awareness,” he said.