Scooters are fast catching up to bikes

Oct 17, 2013, 04:38 IST | Shashank Rao

RTO officials say stylish looks, self-start buttons, gearless and powerful engines, along with low cost of transport has catapulted the sale of scooters in the last five years

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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