State transport minister Diwakar Raote’s announcement of making an indemnity bond compulsory for bike riders defies logic and challenges its legality because any law of the land has to be equal for all here, the people who hold licences for driving all kinds of vehicles, and of course bikes.
One may not doubt Raote’s good intentions he wants to discipline bike riders who violate traffic rules frequently. The city and other parts of the state have been witnessing increasing number of deaths on roads the bike riders have a significant share in these casualties. In Mumbai, the JJ flyover, the sea-link and eastern freeway have been barred for bikes. The police also keep a close watch on Marine Drive and Palm Beach Road in Navi Mumbai for drag races that are usually held in the odd hours.
If Raote is to be believed then furnishing indemnity bond at the time of seeking two-wheeler licence is crucial because majority of bike riders do not even follow apex and high courts’ ruling for making helmets compulsory for both riders and pillion riders. Some cities like Pune have collectively defied the ‘helmet regime’ terming it impractical. But it is encouraging that such cities do have riders who do not take out their bikes without wearing helmets. Mumbai’s helmet-wearing tribe is increasing too.
Raote justified his decision saying that the bond would help law enforcing authorities build strong legal cases against offenders. According to Raote, the department would also devise a mechanism to make existing licence holders furnish such bonds.
But then the question remains: what about others who violate rules? On Mumbai’s roads, we see bus, car and taxi drivers posing fatal threats to fellow drivers and pedestrians. Cases of road rage are rampant. Car drivers have beaten up BEST drivers in one case a BEST driver was kidnapped by the owner of a car which the driver had damaged on a city road. No doubt, Mumbai has lost its traffic sense, which needs to be corrected at “ all levels.