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View Poll Results: Appropriate metric and minimum allowable figures for 2 wheelers on expressways ?
Power output > 40BHP 72 27.07%
Engine displacement > 350cc 51 19.17%
Any other power output 13 4.89%
Any other displacement 10 3.76%
2 wheelers should absolutely be prohibited 158 59.40%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 266. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 1st December 2022, 00:01   #1
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Should 2-wheelers above a certain engine displacement/power output be allowed on expressways?

I have thought long and hard about this. Why aren't 2 wheelers above a certain displacement/power output allowed on expressways ?

What do you guys think about this ?

NOTE - Due to multiple instances of the terms being used in this post, kindly note that -
1. 2W = 2 wheeler
2. NCR = National Capital Region
3. KMP/WPE = Kundli Manesar Palwal / Western Peripheral Expressway

Somewhere in 2009 was my first time travelling on the Mumbai-Pune expressway and I saw boards showing that 2 wheelers are not allowed on this road. On asking my parents why so, they replied that 2 wheelers are slow moving vehicles hence they disrupt the flow of fast moving traffic. Being 10 years old at that time, I agreed with what they said. Later on when I started reading Autocar and Overdrive, gained some knowledge about the more powerful bikes, I went back to my thoughts, came to my senses and realised that not all 2 wheelers are slow. I know what the thought process of the NHAI is regarding the restriction for 2 wheelers. 2 wheelers are usually considered as the common man's means of transport, be it the doodh wala (milkman) carrying huge drums on his 1970s Yezdi or a family of 5 people on a Splendor. Having travelled across multiple states and expressways, I absolutely agree that the majority of 2W are a nuisance, mostly slow moving, occupying the wrong lane, turning without checking RVMs, non functional lights/indicators etc. But all these factors apply to all 4 wheelers as well right ?

I never really had a problem with this rule until I bought a bike and realised that I was legally prohibited from plying on expressways.
As an avid long distance touring fan, this was going to be a problem. Having read about Rs.10k-20k fine amount being set by the authorities, I was a bit scared at first. For those of you who don't know, I ride a 2018 Duke 390 and it is plenty powerful, probably quicker than 90% of the cars on our roads (not flexing, I don't know of any stats, just a random rough guess). I can easily cruise at 100+kmph all day and I don't fall into the milkman/Splendor family category so why is this rule for me ?

The first time when I thought of breaking the law was in December 2021 when I was on my Kutch ride. The first leg was from Dehradun-Beawar(Rajasthan) via Jaipur. We had two options -
1. Going via the usual Delhi NCR meant passing through bad traffic meaning wastage of time. Distance - 700kms
2. Going via the new KMP/Western Peripheral Expressway (WPE), no city/village traffic along the way, saving time and ensuring mental peace. Distance - 750kms, 50kms extra but more chances of having a better average speed hence reaching earlier.

As it was going to be my first time venturing on an access controlled expressway and the ride planned with a very strict schedule (my friend couldn't beg for any more office leave), we had to be sure not to fall into trouble with the highway cops/authorities. We took the safer option of not taking our chances, going via the usual route and ended up facing the slow moving traffic which killed our average speed, as expected. The next time I got the chance to travel on the KMP/WPE was in my car, from Jodhpur-Dehradun. Yes, the distance covered was definitely more but the time taken was less and I was somewhat satisfied with the road quality. What made me sad was looking at slow 2W moving all along the access controlled expressway, making me regret my earlier decision.

Starting February 2022, I knew that I'd have to go to Delhi NCR for some work at least once or twice a month, which meant going through the Delhi-Meerut expressway. Yes I researched for alternate routes for 2W, read about the high fine collected by the 2W violators but I just wanted to try the new and beautiful expressway once. The first time I went through the toll, voila, nobody cared. The fear vanished and since then I have probably been on the expressway about 14-15 times.

So back to the original question. We all know that bikes nowadays(or have always been) are sufficiently powerful to maintain highway speeds. I'm aware of several YouTube channels that regularly post 'highway battles' (whatever the heck that is supposed to mean) on expressways with powerful bikes, ripping like maniacs and endangering the lives of everyone, themselves included. But the same thing could be said about cars. I regularly see cars zipping past me on highways, exhibiting the same maniac nature with no regard for road safety.

What I think could be done to allow certain 2W to enter expressways legally -

Checking the RC at toll booths to -
1.Verify the power output
2.Verify the displacement
Also, I would happily pay toll as long as I'm provided with butter smooth roads. I know strict enforcement is another long story, this is just my restless mind devising some unachievable plans which most probably won't bear any fruit.

I've thought of these 2 options as high displacement engines don't necessarily mean powerful bikes. Case in point, a KTM Duke 200(200cc) produces 25ish BHP whereas an RE Himalayan(411cc) puts out a relatively less 24ish BHP. Bottom line, higher displacement does not translate to a more powerful bike.
To eliminate this discrepancy, putting power output as a metric would be more sensible in my opinion.

Now regarding the more appropriate metric (engine displacement OR power output) for allowing legal admission, what do you guys think should be the more appropriate metric and minimum allowable figures for such a system ?

I personally think power output would be more sensible (40+ BHP)

Kindly support your vote with answers. Any other suggestions from members are welcome.

Quoting one of my favorite automotive YouTuber/online personality - "Ride safe, it's a freaking jungle out there."
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Old 1st December 2022, 07:08   #2
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re: Should 2-wheelers above a certain engine displacement/power output be allowed on expressways?

I think this has little to do with power figures of a vehicle and is more of a mindset problem. In our country, 2 wheelers are considered second class citizens of the road. They are either seen as poor man’s choice of transport or a hooligan’s (Dhoom machale crowd).

Even on the forum, there was a thread talking about anecdotal evidence of 2 wheelers being stopped more often for checking by cops vs 4 wheelers. There was another one which spoke about two wheeler related parking challenges at posh properties and hotels.

So on paper, the issue highlighted here appears really unfortunate and sad. Especially when the humble Splendours and Activas of the world are very much capable of maintaining our average highway speeds. Just take it as another form of discriminatory treatment. Till the time someone wakes and amends the legislature, we just have to manage.

Now the good part - Practically the enforcement of this rule is hardly seen. Atleast that has been my experience in Northern part of the country. In fact there was a news article few years back where Delhi and Haryana police refused to enforce this rule on NH8 (Delhi-Jaipur highway) because even they found it illogical. So overall this is one of those legacy things which seem to be non-existent in real life.

Coming to the best part - As a 2 wheeler rider, we don’t have to stand in long queues on the toll plaza, nor have to pay toll. We can breeze through the side lanes which is a good privilege to have even if it comes at cost of being looked as cattle class on the tarmac

Last edited by warrioraks : 1st December 2022 at 07:14.
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Old 1st December 2022, 07:29   #3
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re: Should 2-wheelers above a certain engine displacement/power output be allowed on expressways?

No. They should not be allowed for the following reasons.

1. Difficult to check the vehicle power output at the entry point to the expressway at scale for all vehicles. Even though RC has the necessary info, how do we ensure everyone carries them? What if someone rides a stolen high power bike and not willing to display the RC ? So many exceptions to the rule will be created and it will become unmanageable to authorities.
2. They're vulnerable road users irrespective of vehicle power.
3. Expressways can become a hot spot for activities like wheeling etc.

Last edited by chaitanyakrish : 1st December 2022 at 07:35.
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Old 1st December 2022, 08:25   #4
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re: Should 2-wheelers above a certain engine displacement/power output be allowed on expressways?

Voted for prohibiting 2W on EW.

I own a 390 Adventure and love that bike and riding to bits. And like you said, my bike is completely capable of hitting speeds which 90% road cars cannot. So I completely empathize with the issue here and have thought about this multiple times.

The reason why there should be a blanket rule is that (a) the obvious enforcement limitation when it comes to selectively allowing certain bikes (b) majority of bikers resort to hooliganism, only a handful ride safely and properly (c) the higher average speed coupled with fast large vehicles all around is a big safety concern.

In case of regular highways, bikes can actually maintain an overall higher average speed (compared to other vehicles) and this kind of addresses both (b) and (c). With some better planning, we can always beat the traffic.

Last edited by krishnakumar : 1st December 2022 at 08:27. Reason: rephrasing
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Old 1st December 2022, 09:02   #5
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re: Should 2-wheelers above a certain engine displacement/power output be allowed on expressways?

Braking efficiency & stability of 2 wheelers should be just as relevant as power output.

2 wheelers that are rated to be capable of braking within a certain distance and maintain a composed line, may be allowed.

Even then, while moving they're very much vulnerable to being pulled in by the aerodynamic effect of a faster moving large vehicle.

Strong crosswinds too can have an effect on any open elevated expressway.
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Old 1st December 2022, 09:46   #6
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re: Should 2-wheelers above a certain engine displacement/power output be allowed on expressways?

Voted NO.

Expressways, by definition are access controlled, as per standards set by Indian Roads Congress and Bureau of Indian Standards, for the safety of two wheelers and other users.

Here is GOI's official take on this.

Should 2-wheelers above a certain engine displacement/power output be allowed on expressways?-screenshot-20221201-09.43.52.png
Source
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Old 1st December 2022, 09:55   #7
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re: Should 2-wheelers above a certain engine displacement/power output be allowed on expressways?

Long distance riders are hugely outnumbered, out of the 15 lakh vehicles that sell month-on-month, how many actually ride long distance? At the most 50? Remaining are all commuters. The expressways that get built are targeted for travelling long distance faster and the number of exits are rather minimal.

These restriction power rating related restrictions are impractical to implement. The total number of cars sold in October 2022 is approximately how many Activa and Shine sell. So first consequence is you'll have obvious arguments at entry points, which will practically be a nuisance to everyone else. Besides how many people will you staff for it in the 700 km Samruddhi Mahamarg or 1300 km Delhi-Bombay expressway? And who will pay for it?

So what works on a minimal staffing approach will be to allow everyone or allow none. The intermediate option is only good for arguments, nobody's going to pay for it.
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Old 1st December 2022, 10:19   #8
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Re: Should 2-wheelers above a certain engine displacement/power output be allowed on expressways?

Voted an absolute NO. This is purely for the safety of the 2 wheelers themselves. Picturize a 4 wheeler lightly touching/scraping another 4 wheeler at relatively higher speeds versus it having the same encounter with a 2 wheeler.
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Old 1st December 2022, 10:19   #9
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Re: Should 2-wheelers above a certain engine displacement/power output be allowed on expressways?

In principle, I would say yes and had even started a thread on this topic - link (Why are motorcyclists treated like 2nd-class citizens in India?). Forget expressways, motorcyclists aren't even allowed on the Bandra-Worli Sealink, JJ Flyover, Eastern Freeway etc.

However, it's impossible to execute what is being proposed for bigger 2-wheelers alone. Reasons:

1. There will be a huge outcry over "rich" riders being favoured over the less-affluent ones. No politician will come near this with a barge pole.

2. The number of big bikes in India is too minuscule to matter.

3. The police have better things to do than segregate motorcycles on expressways. Sometimes, a black-and-white rule is better than creating grey areas.
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Old 1st December 2022, 10:58   #10
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Re: Should 2-wheelers above a certain engine displacement/power output be allowed on expressways?

I agree with Govt of India approach.
2 wheelers are inherently unstable (physics, you can't do anything about this) and therefore more prone to accidents.

Now combine this with the high average speeds of expressway and it is a disaster waiting to happen not just for the 2-wheeler but everyone else around it.

It is not a question of 2-wheelers being slower than 4-wheeler or underpowered or any other performance related issue. It is about safety of EVERYONE on the road.
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Old 1st December 2022, 11:00   #11
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Re: Should 2-wheelers above a certain engine displacement/power output be allowed on expressways?

Wrong question to ask in a predominantly 4-wheeler forum. Only big bike owners hauling multiple-day luggage know the pain of navigating in city traffic or densely populated highways, while they witness rickety old Altos and Indicas that can't cross 60 kmph take the expressways.

In addition, what's more irritating is the fact that rules are not made based on logic, but are knee-jerk reactions to incidents. Take the example of Hyderabad ORR. Access to two-wheelers was banned only after a famous cricketer's son died in an accident there! Going by the same logic, will they ban luxury cars because a famous businessman died in an accident in one recently?

This Country desperately needs power-output-based classification both for the 2W licensing system as well as for selective access to expressways. Commuter bikes and lifestyle motorcycles cannot be classified under the same bracket.

Last edited by Added_flavor : 1st December 2022 at 11:04.
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Old 1st December 2022, 11:00   #12
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Re: Should 2-wheelers above a certain engine displacement/power output be allowed on expressways?

Is this rule enforced anywhere in the country? I have seen videos of spoiled brats with high end bikes indulging in hooliganism on the Delhi-Agra expressway.

Whenever I drive my car to the southern parts of TN I regularly see copules travelling by their various bikes, mostly commuter, to Trichy, Madurai or even beyond. They always ride on the left most part of the road, most of them maintain around 80 kph speeds which is the speed limit of the NHs. I usualy stick to 85-95 myself in my car and they are not much slower. They breeze through the toll plazas too. But what gets my goat are the three wheeler share autos on the highways.

No politician is going to touch this hot potato. Strict enforcement will create a smouldering anger which can affect elections. Two wheelers are poor man's vehicles in India. It is the only transport they can afford to own and they will not be denied access to higways.

My opinion is whatever can do highway speed limits, allow them.
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Old 1st December 2022, 11:26   #13
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Re: Should 2-wheelers above a certain engine displacement/power output be allowed on expressways?

I didn't know 2 wheelers aren't allowed on expressways.

Now, I'm not at all a 2 wheeler person. I don't even have a licence, and there's no 2 wheeler at home.

Having said that, I don't see a problem allowing relatively fast 2 wheelers on the expressways. I don't even know which bikes are supposed to be fast, but I suppose Harleys, Indian Scout, those BMW bikes etc would fit the criteria.

Just thinking out loud perhaps they can introduce a special coloured number plate for bikes that are fit for expressway cruising so that it's easier to enforce. But then again, some people might be offended.

Something else I noticed is that, atleast here in Kochi if I'm moving with the same general speed as the cars around me (in light traffic), or if there's not much traffic at all and nobody's in a particular hurry, the "default cruising speed" of all the cars would be somewhere around 60 km/h. At that speed my City diesel engine happens to be relatively calm at 1500 rpm or so, and the car feels overall relaxed. Any slower and it's low rpm in the current gear or high rpm in the previous gear. (And the great thing about the idtec motor is that the engine sounds crude and loud).

However, in the same light traffic conditions the "default cruising speed" of 2 wheelers would be 40 km/h.

The problem comes when a car comfortably cruising at 60 comes behind a bike comfortably cruising at 40. It just gets annoying.
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Old 1st December 2022, 11:27   #14
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Re: Should 2-wheelers above a certain engine displacement/power output be allowed on expressways?

As mentioned in various earlier posts, the crux of the problem is complacency in the process of issuing driving licenses in our country. This will definitely allow is to be more civil on the road, i believe this will greatly contribute to the lessening of road rage, hooliganism and unruly driving habits. With regards to the driving speeds , i am sure the motorcycles sold in India can cater to speeds of 60kmph which is good enough on the express ways, with an exception to scooters. Again, it all depends on your driving sense which can be addressed by stricter licensing process.
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Old 1st December 2022, 12:03   #15
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Re: Should 2-wheelers above a certain engine displacement/power output be allowed on expressways?

Voted 2 wheelers should absolutely be prohibited. The reason isn't much about speed as much as it is about lack of a two wheeler lane on expressways. In fact, a 150cc bike can cruise at 110-120 km/h happily all day. So speed isn't an issue. Afaik expressways have a speed limit of 120km/h.

At high speeds, two wheelers are at a much higher risk of getting into crashes. Even worse, two wheeler riders have a higher chance of debilitating injury or even death. This is because an average high speed car has significantly more momentum than a motorbike at the same speed. I cannot count the number of times I have had close calls with two wheelers on the highway. Cars usually go straight, there isn't a possibility of suddenly turning your car at high speed. However, two wheelers are almost always all over the place, even at high speeds. Changing direction is much easier in a two wheeler, which also makes them much more dangerous at high speeds.

One solution to this is to have dedicated two wheeler lanes which could be narrower than the four wheeler lanes, but still usable. But you have to remember this is India. Even if we had dedicated two wheeler lanes, cars will occupy those lanes just to overtake.

Last edited by vedirah : 1st December 2022 at 12:13.
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