Scooters are fast catching up to bikes

If the statistics available with the Regional Transport Offices (RTO) is the yardstick to measure the popularity of two two-wheelers in the city then you will be surprised to know that number of people buying scooters is increasing with each passing day. Of the total 1,08,169 two-wheelers registered in 2012-13 at the three RTOs -- Tardeo, Andheri and Wadala --  71,145 were motorbikes, 36,945 scooters and 79 were mopeds. Sources in the RTOs said that just five years ago, the ratio was skewed. Of the total 58,940 two-wheelers that were registered, only 8,386 were scooters.

Graphic/ Vijay Pednekar

Gaining popularity
Officials said there were several factors responsible for the rising demand of scooters among those wanting to buy a two-wheeler. Elements like stylish looks, self-start buttons, gearless and powerful engines catapulted the sale of scooters in the recent years. In addition, the ever-increasing cost of public transport also contributed to this trend.

Transport department officials said that despite high petrol prices behind every kilometre, the input cost of a two-wheeler is less than Rs 2, which is equivalent to a BEST bus. At present, there are several scooter models with an engine capacity of up to 150cc, which is as good as a motorcycle.

The flipside
RTO officials agreed that driving a scooter is riskier than a bike, as the body of a scooter does not support speeding and crisscrossing vehicles on roads during traffic jams. Transport experts also claimed that riding two-wheelers on city streets was extremely risky, as most of the motorists lacked regard for traffic norms. 

Speed breaker
Since January, the traffic police has collected almost Rs 4 crore in fines from those breaking traffic rules, especially stunt riders and drag racers

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