New buzz in India seems to be electric scooters; they are cheap to buy, maintain and run. And since it seems they arenâ€™t covered under any licensing and registration policy normally imposed on other two wheelers, it makes people think these are suitable for their kids, some of whom are not even in their teens!
This is some thing that worries me, even though these scooters might not be as powerful as the petrol powered ones, they are still more powerful and heavier than the cycles and some of them can even attain a top speed of 40kmph. This in my books makes them not only lethal for any one riding them, but also for the pedestrians who might be unfortunate enough to get knocked down by one of these.
Its not like few parents are being irresponsible by gifting these to their kids; companies themselves are actively targeting school kids.
Take this advertisement for example, here an electric scooter manufacturing company is actually using a schoolgirl in the ad and the ad says â€œschool, tuitions and dance class, all in one day? Now I have a way!â€.
Now the girl in this ad surely doesnâ€™t look like she is over 16 years of age, which btw is the legal age for attaining a learnerâ€™s license in India, after which a teen can ride under50cc ungeared scooter.
What this means is, through legal loopholes kids are being allowed to ride these electric scooters much before they should be allowed to by the law of the land!
What happens if one of these kids knocks you down and causes you serious injury?
That kid would simply walk away with a warning from the juvenile court or at the most would be sent to a juvenile home for a while. This I feel isnâ€™t good enough punishment for some one that could potentially cause you serious injury!
Also adding to the woes is the fact that, even adults riding these vehicles arenâ€™t wearing any helmets, which they feel is reserved for people ride â€œactual scootersâ€.
This means if your kid is asking for a scooter like this and you fulfill his/her wishes, chances are that your kid wouldnâ€™t wear a helmet either and most probably you wouldnâ€™t ask him/her to wear one thinking its not necessary.
Well I got news for you; an accident at even 20 kmph can cause serious brain damage and could even lead to death if one is not wearing a protective helmet. According to me, one needs to wear a good quality ISI rated helmet that normal bikers/scooterist wear, which is of course if you value your life and well being!
I firmly believe that government needs to take stock of this situation and ensure that registration as well driving license is mandatory for driving these electric scooters and the riders have to follow the same safety norms as a normal motorcycle/scooter rider would have to. Even if this means lowering the legal age of attaining the learnerâ€™s license, so be it. As long as those kids have to go through a basic two wheeler driving course and are taught about the rules of riding a two wheeler, I feel it would make these electric scooters safer for riders as well as pedestrians.