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Old 13th September 2018, 01:14   #16
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Default Re: No safety norms for 3-wheelers : Government napping or asleep?

The very reason that the rickshaw still survives is because they are cheap to buy and cheap to run.

It is impossible to make them safer without compromising on both the above advantages. Any additional strengthening materials or safety features will increase the cost and the consequent increase in weight will negatively affect the fuel efficiency.

The only viable options are:
1. to limit their top speed to say 45 kmph, (I know its nasty, but so is an annoying beep above 90 kmph)
2. ban them from all highways,
3. provide a geared steering system so as to reduce the speed at which direction change occurs,
4. Provide better mirrors, lights and wipers,
5. provide incentives to rickshaw drivers to upgrade to 4 wheelers like the Ace Magic,
6. Start phasing them out in a structured manner, first cities, then smaller towns and then the villages.

Of course, the most logical and appropriate option is to improve policing on our roads, improve awareness and punish the offenders so as to force people to obey rules. 99% of accidents can be avoided then. But that will remain a distant dream because as a Nation, we are the still the most uncivilized road users in the world and we are only getting worse each day.

The existence of the three wheeler could be justified about 3 or even 2 decades ago. The traffic was much lesser. Average speeds were much lower and the roads were not so well laid, bringing speeds down automatically.Taxi market was not organised and easily available as it is today. Highways were just emptier stretches of the same poorly laid, narrow roads, with far lesser intercity road travel (rail travel was the preferred mode of transport for anything more than say 100 Kms). Safety awareness was poor, nonexistent infact, so it was 'OK' to travel by rickshaw as there were not many safer options.

Today, there should logically be no rickshaws on our roads. They are a misfit. I understand there are people who cannot afford to travel in taxis and private cars. But that is not an excuse for giving them these egg shells on wheels. Cheaper 4 wheeled alternatives are very much available and very popular in some states like Kerala (because I see a lot of Magics and Jeetos there) because people have probably realised these 4 wheelers are slightly more safer and come at a price not too higher than these rickshaws.

Rickshaws are banned in South Mumbai for decades for whatever reason. Why can't they be banned from other parts in a phased out manner? After all life is more important. If you cannot preserve life, it does not matter if you are rich or poor.

In short, there is no space for these predominantly unsafe means of transport in a civilised world. If we are to march forward, then rickshaws should be on top of the strike off list.

And infact, the argument that the rickshaws are for the poor is flawed in today's times. With Ola and Uber and so many other online taxi services, I would consider a person traveling in a rickshaw richer. Because, in a place like Coimbatore, and almost the entire country (except Mumbai, where there is a working 'meter' system), the typical rickshaw driver charges the customer based on:
1. His mood,
2. Number of other rickshaw drivers (read mob strength) nearby,
3. The looks of the prospective customer,
4. His judgement on the Nativity of the customer (local, local language speaker, 'namoona' from another state, 'bakra' foreigner etc), customer naivety in other words
5. Time of the day,
6. Sex,
7. Any luggage, other than a mobile or a handbag,
8. Availability of other means of transport,
9. The location - railway station, airport, hospital etc
10. On his perceived urgency of the prospective customer
11. His physical appearance as opposed to that of the customer, (read as ability to bully)
12. Distance/location of the destination,
13. On the customers ability to bargain, etc

So his quote could vary depending on one or several more of the above. And I have realised, it is now cheaper to travel in the air conditioned comfort of a taxi, paying lesser, similar or negligibly higher fare. You also travel safer, fresher and protected from the elements and pollution. So it doesn't make sense to take a rickshaw anymore. I know its a different story in the smaller towns and rural areas which therefore, is a point for argument.

I hope the rickshaw drivers at the rickshaw stand, which I pass twice everyday, don't discover who this SCORPION from 'Namma Kovai' really is, if they do end up reading this post. I have a very conspicuous LTD sticker on my car, you see.
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Old 15th September 2018, 08:36   #17
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Default Re: No safety norms for 3-wheelers : Government napping or asleep?

Couldn't agree more on this, Autorickshaw should be banned or phased out gradually from all metro cities.

In my daily commute from Dwarka to Noida in last two weeks I was trying to capture general behavior of the kind of vehicles plying on roads. Auto drivers are the most notorious on road, they don't care about other speeding vehicles and are sometimes running in rallies. Worst thing is they know they will struggle while ascending on flyovers but they will always overtake on flyovers and block other traffic.

There is one important key point to note for commercial transport. While we guys travel with them we should try to educate them to some extent and ask them to drive sensibly on roads. I never sit in back seat of a cab and always try to have a healthy conversation with them. I explain them the basic etiquette which has to be followed on road, in case they are not behaving well. Trust me some drivers doesn't sit in the correct posture while driving and are ruining there back and neck. Make them comfortable, play with their mind and they are more than happy to hear anything from you even if you are point out fingers at them. After all they are human beings and deserve love and respect from us.
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