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Old 25th May 2009, 22:56   #1
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Default Pillions- Lesser Human Beings? (Pillion Comfort and safety)

Pillion Comfort and safety:
Virtually nothing is thought of by our scooter maker's R&D department about the pillion rider's comfort and safety. A pillion is just a piggyback rider alongwith. He or she is just there because he or she has to be there.Despite the fact that most of our scooters (and bikes too) have a pillion almost always or most of the time the two wheeler company's R & D cares just only a wee bit in adding a seat there for pillion riding with two footpegs below because he or she is supposed to have feet. And thats where the chapter for pillion riders end.
Seating comfort and footrests: This is where all the new entrants and "Johnny Come Lately s" fail. Suzuki, Honda and Yamaha want to earn their market share and earn fast bucks here and thats what we get.They have no room in their R & D Wings to think of the fate of pillion riders.
Bajaj had the old Vespa design of the 1940's where the running footboard from front to back for pillions was impossible. The Vespa (Wasp) of Italy was a single seater originally and was later made to seat two in the 1950's (Remember Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn of Roman Holiday fame), if we carefully watch its evolution.
But the same Bajaj Auto buried the Vespa design in the early 2000's and tried to make a second coming with their indigenously designed Stride, Kristal and what not? Being an Indian company it is criminal for them not to give credence to the pillion comfort.
Lambrettas excel in design, looks, dynamics and the scooter feels so planted on the road while one drives. Lambrettas and Vijais (based on the Lambretta design) are the only scooters made till date that had running footboards right below, upto the rear seat to accommodate the pillion rider's feet.
The Lambretta, our oldest scooter brand passed away peacefully in the mid 1980's due to quality problems and the inundation of the market with many other competing brands of Vijai and even Priya !
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ABOVE PICTURES Rear footboards for the pillion in the 1960's Lambretta Li 150's blending so well with the design and not AFTERTHOUGHTS!
These protect the feet of the pillion as the width of the two wheeler is not enhanced due to the footboard.
Footpegs (foldable) like the ones in the Activa,Dio,Access and so on enhance the width of the 2 wheeler and in case of a hit, the feet is liable to get injured. All Vespas and Bajaj 150/Chetak/Cub/Legend/Stride/Kristal/Saffire scooters also had/have this flaw, as their inherent birth defect!

Last edited by anjan_c2007 : 25th May 2009 at 23:04.
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Old 26th May 2009, 10:06   #2
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Well, you are just talking about scooters here, aren't you?
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Old 26th May 2009, 12:27   #3
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Anjan, somehow I am not sure if we really need comfort for the pillion in any of our punny bikes/scooters. It is not fun driving these punny two wheelers with a pillion. But for sure some of them are good for a single rider. Considering this, why do you expect the R&D to spend some money on pillion comfort? Are you sure, the enhanced foot board is good for the driver? Will it not obstruct the feet movement of the driver? I have not driven any one of these, so not sure.
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Old 26th May 2009, 15:59   #4
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The attitude of sidelining a pillion rider extends to two wheeler owners as well. 99% of the pillions I see out there are riding along without a helmet. Is their life any less important or their heads any tougher to crack (in the literal sense!)?

Last edited by GTO : 26th May 2009 at 20:12.
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Old 26th May 2009, 16:18   #5
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Good Point GTO.

@Anjan- I am not sure what the exact rant is? Which new bike/scooter especially Indian did you find not having pillion comfort & safety in place?

The last I saw all of them came with footrest & grab rails for pillions & our laws make even a Saree guard mandatory for all bikes including the R1.
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Old 26th May 2009, 17:33   #6
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Most of the time the pillion riders are considered to be lesser mortals, they are there because they have to be there, more of a force rather than choice. It's quite unsafe the way their legs hang in the middle of nowhere.
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Old 26th May 2009, 17:39   #7
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Quote:
It's quite unsafe the way their legs hang in the middle of nowhere.
In which bike \scooter does a pillion's legs are forced to hang like that?
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Old 26th May 2009, 17:46   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
The attitude of sidelining a pillion rider extends to two wheeler riders as well. 99% of the pillions I see out there are riding along without a helmet. Is their life any less important or their heads any tougher to crack (in the literal sense!)?
Very good point!!

OT: I am looking for a helmet for my 3 year old son. Any idea where I would get one in Bangalore?
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Old 26th May 2009, 17:47   #9
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Actually the situation is much worse for the third pillion.
Don't even get me started on how difficult it would be for the fourth pillion.

But we Indians manage to overcome all such problems.

Look at how well they go.
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Old 26th May 2009, 20:56   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by turbo_v12 View Post
Well, you are just talking about scooters here, aren't you?
No turbo_v12, I mean bikes too! I started out the topic with scooters as the Lambretta's rear footrest invoked me to start this thread.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
The attitude of sidelining a pillion rider extends to two wheeler owners as well. 99% of the pillions I see out there are riding along without a helmet. Is their life any less important or their heads any tougher to crack (in the literal sense!)?
True GTO the owners and makers of 2 wheelers are equally at fault.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Technocrat View Post
Good Point GTO.

@Anjan- I am not sure what the exact rant is? Which new bike/scooter especially Indian did you find not having pillion comfort & safety in place?

The last I saw all of them came with footrest & grab rails for pillions & our laws make even a Saree guard mandatory for all bikes including the R1.
Technocrat- my grudge is against all two wheeler designs, in the present day market. None of them offer safety or comfort.
Safety- With the ladies riding 2 wheelers as pillions, prefering to keep their legs on one side (not the modern jean -clad gals, who ride safe parking their legs on either sides like gents) sometimes with a kid on their laps, the whole dynamics of safe riding is vanquished.Thats the way average couples ride and they surely form a majority of our populace. Now a days while moving on highways umpteen 2 wheelers with families move this way and its only spine chilling to watch them and comprehend "what in case of a crash?"
I am unable to think of any safety measures that two wheeler makers can devise for the majority of riders who prefer riding this way, but for good pillion seats perhaps with an elliptical bucket like depression at its centre to facilitate better body grip, helmets and don't know what?
Comfort-The rear footrests of the good old Lambretta (Vijai too was an Innocenti design) was forgotten and never replicated by any two wheeler maker.The pillion's feet rest very well on such footboards and long distance travel can be less tiring.But those footpegs which we find on all bikes and scooters today- only a fraction of the feet get better supported.

Quote:
Originally Posted by T_Girl View Post
Most of the time the pillion riders are considered to be lesser mortals, they are there because they have to be there, more of a force rather than choice. It's quite unsafe the way their legs hang in the middle of nowhere.
T_Girl-And a majority of road users are with such configurations. Its only providence which ensures that they travel safely. Or else, its fatal.
[quote High Esteem ]Anjan, somehow I am not sure if we really need comfort for the pillion in any of our punny bikes/scooters. It is not fun driving these punny two wheelers with a pillion. But for sure some of them are good for a single rider. Considering this, why do you expect the R&D to spend some money on pillion comfort? Are you sure, the enhanced foot board is good for the driver? Will it not obstruct the feet movement of the driver? I have not driven any one of these, so not sure.[quote]
High Esteem- The scenario is disturbing.For those of us who have 4 wheelers, we use them when on the move with families, but the average Indian uses two wheelers for family movement too. Thats where the safety and comfort quotients come into play. The manufacturers could sure do some R & D to offer pillion safety. Since I have driven Lambretta and Vijai scooters on many occasions, I can say that both the rider's and pillion's feet rest better than on most other two wheelers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bblost View Post
Actually the situation is much worse for the third pillion.
Don't even get me started on how difficult it would be for the fourth pillion.

But we Indians manage to overcome all such problems.

Look at how well they go.
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bblost Oh! look at the crowd there on that poor bike! Thats what inspired Mr Ratan Tata to introduce the Nano!

Last edited by anjan_c2007 : 26th May 2009 at 21:05.
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Old 27th May 2009, 11:56   #11
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I am really lost here, what kind of Safety did lambretta provide for ladies sitting as pillions?

A bike is not supposed to carry people sitting in an unbalanced way.

As for the foot rest, with the footwear that women wear today even those side panels would be uncomfortable.
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