Foreign motorcyclist Karl Rock was on his way to Pune from Vadodara on a road trip. He was riding a Royal Enfield Himalayan, and when he reached the Mumbai-Pune Expressway, he missed an exit and rode straight onto the expressway. Indian cops were lying in wait, and busted him. Here’s what happened next.
As the video indicates, the cops first bust Mr. Karl Rock, and his riding buddy, who was also on a Royal Enfield Himalayan. Then the cops did something unthinkable, at least in the eyes of Indian bikers. They actually let actually let Karl Rock off with friendly advice about the right way to take. They did this as Mr. Karl Rock was ‘India’s guest’, and guests can’t be fined for minor transgressions committed unknowingly, can they?
Riding a two wheeler on the Mumbai-Pune expressway is illegal. The expressway is only meant for private cars, taxis, light and heavy commercial vehicles. All other vehicles – except those used by the authorities – are illegal, and this includes two wheelers and three wheelers.
Mr. Rock’s riding buddy wasn’t as lucky. He had to pay the full fine for illegally riding on the Mumbai-Pune expressway, and the cops handed over a challan to him, which means that it wasn’t a bribe but a legitimate traffic fine that was levied. Mr. Rock does add that Indian cops do accept bribes, and even asks people caught for traffic offences to ‘negotiate hard’.
While there are a few signboards on the Mumbai-Pune expressway that prohibit two wheelers, three wheelers and bullock carts – yes bullock carts – from accessing this smooth stretch of road, it’s easy to miss such signboards. The problem becomes acute as two wheelers riding on the old Mumbai-Pune highway (NH4) have to use the expressway for a very short stretch near Lonavala before rejoining the old highway. It’s at this point where riders get confused, and many of them end up getting stuck on the expressway, with no exit to the old highway in sight.
Indian cops are usually found lying in wait at the toll gates for such riders, who have strayed onto the expressway, knowingly on unknowingly. While the cop who stopped Mr. Rock was friendly, and helpful, there have been instances where bikers have been fined upto Rs. 5,000 for straying onto the expressway under various offences. So, if you are ever riding on the old Mumbai-Pune highway, be very aware of your surroundings and get off to the old highway at the right point.
There are multiple reasons why riding a two wheeler on the expressway is ILLEGAL!
- It’s dangerous. Most two wheelers in India have engines that displace under 125cc. What this means is 80 Kmph – which is the speed limit on the Mumbai-Pune expressway is close to the top speed of most two wheelers. This makes it quite dangerous for people riding these bikes as they’re at their vehicle’s limits if they obey the speed limit.
- If they choose to go slow, they’re sitting ducks for faster traffic, and can be swayed violently by wind blast from passing cars and trucks.
While the Royal Enfield Himalayan – a motorcycle that Mr. Rock and his friend were riding – on the Mumbai-Pune expressway before getting busted, can manage much high speeds than 80 Kmph, there’s no differentiation in law between fast and slow motorcycles, which makes all of them illegal on the expressway.