The Bombay High Court has issued a notice to Bajaj Auto and the government of Maharashtra, seeking their respective stands on the mandatory fitment of certain safety features such as a pillion grab handle, saree guard and pillion footrest.
The High Court’s notice came after an elderly Mumbai man, Gyan Prakash, filed a plea, seeking the court’s intervention to implement the Supreme Court’s February 2018 judgment which asked all RTOs of the country not to register any two wheeler that doesn’t have pillion safety accessories, such as the grab handle, saree guard and footrest fitted to it directly at the factory level.
The Bombay High Court has asked both the Maharashtra government and Bajaj Auto to reply to the notice within 2 weeks. Meanwhile, Rule 123 of the Central Motor Vehicles Rules (CMVR) says,
No motorcycle, which has provision for pillion rider, shall be built without provision for a permanent hand grip on the side or behind the driver’s seat, a foot rest and a protective device covering not less than half of the rear wheel so as to prevent the clothes of the person sitting on the pillion from being entangled in the wheel.
While most two-wheeler makers in India comply with these regulations by fitting the safety accessories at dealer level, it remains to be seen if they now start fitting these accessories at factory level. This could result in a slight price increase of two wheelers by about Rs. 1,000. Previously, customers had the option of either fitting or omitting these accessories at the dealer level. That may not be possible anymore thanks to Rule 123 of the CMVR now set to be implemented quite rigorously at the RTO level.
From April 2019, all two wheelers with engine capacities of 125cc/power rating of 14.75 Bhp need to have ABS as standard. Two wheelers below this capacity and power outputs need to have CBS or combi-braking system as standard. Mandatory ABS is likely to increase motorcycle prices by at least Rs. 5,000.