Access controlled roads barring slower vehicles: Are they being elitist

When roads are made with everyone’s tax money why should some groups be banned from using/enjoying the facility

BHPian Pacifica recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

So this bit of news triggered a major argument on my college classmates WhatsApp group.

Basically, one group feels that dedicated roads are elitist:

  • On all other transport (rail, air, bus, etc.), anyone who pays can travel.
  • But only on road, some roads are reserved for certain vehicles - dedicated bus lanes or expressways where two wheelers are banned, etc.
  • When roads are made with everyone’s tax money why should some groups be banned from using/enjoying the facility?


  • It’s a safety thing, a car going at 120 sharing a dedicated expressway with an auto going at 40 is a recipe for disaster. There are bike paths, etc. where cars are not allowed.
  • Even when flying, if you have your own airplane there is still restricted airspace where you can’t fly. So it’s not just roads. Just the ways things are.
  • Nothing stops a person with a banned vehicle, say a scooter, from buying a car and then using that road as much as they want or can afford.

Thought it was an interesting discussion and one that Team-BHP members would like to discuss.

Here's what GTO had to say on the matter:

I don't think so at all. Let's take a look at the banned vehicle classes:

"Entry of the following vehicles: Motor Cycle, Moped, 3 Wheeler Tempo, Auto Rickshaw, Tractor, Tractor With unladen trolley, Animal Drawn Vehicles & Slow Moving Vehicle will not be allowed on MTHL," they wrote on X on January 11"

It can be argued that none of the above vehicles are used for intercity commutes, at least not long & speedy ones. For long distance commuting, cars + taxis + buses are the vehicles of choice, they can safely cruise at 80 - 100 kmph and are allowed on the Harbour Link.

I fully support the decision of not allowing 2-wheelers or slow vehicles on the Expressway, Harbour Link etc. On the other hand, I am not in favour of banning them on intracity bridges like the JJ Flyover. The JJ Flyover has a stupidly low speed limit of 35 kmph at certain places, which even a 100cc commuter bike can comfortably do.

Here's what BHPian shankar.balan had to say on the matter:

Everything in the World which can be obtained by paying money, is ‘Elitist’ in that sense. There will always be Haves and Have Nots. Thats the nature of the Capitalist World.

Coming to Dedicated Roads/ Lanes. Having this is an eminently sensible idea. For the reasons you yourself have stated. But enforcing them, especially in a country like India, is very hard indeed.

Here's what BHPian Rajeevraj had to say on the matter:

'Elitism' in most cases is tied to money. Apart from specific scenarios or situations where just money will not get you something you want-In most cases if you are ok to spend the money, you can have the elite experience. Could be anything from travelling in AC vs 2nd sleeper, Business Class vs economy, train vs plane vs bus vs cab vs private car vs two wheeler, buying an entry car vs a BMW or even a Ferrari etc.. Money is typically what defines the levels of elitism that exists in the world today.

Here it is not so simple. Elitism based on money paid is mostly not the factor. I ride a bike, I am willing to pay the toll, I can comfortably be at the safe speeds the expressway needs but I am still not allowed to. A dedicated bus lane also raises the same questions. I have paid taxes and am driving a car, why cannot I drive where I want? We seemed to be acceptive of elitism based on money paid. When other factors come into play- I think 'elitism' probably becomes the wrong word, but in any case, it gives rise to a lot of debate with it's own pro's and cons.

I think the key point is that when you make something restricted, you need to ensure that for people who get impacted due to the restriction still have viable options and alternatives.

We are continuing to build massive dedicated road infra. Sooner or later there needs to be a thought on how people who are restricted from the same due to various reasons can also benefit from it. It could be tiered licensing, capacity based restrictions, dedicated lanes etc. Some solution needs to be thought through.

Here's what BHPian SS-Traveller had to say on the matter:

This is less about elitism and more about a distorted sense of safety as well as higher revenue generation from fines.

When the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway opened, there was a similar ban on two- and three-wheelers and other slow-moving vehicles. Such slower vehicles were pulled up and penalized. Today, the road is a free-for-all mess, with all varieties of vehicles plying on it (including tractors) - there are no alternate roads to commute, and the average speed is less than 50 km/h nowadays.

For now, new roads, long bridges and expressways will have plenty of enforcement, and the fines will fill the authorities' coffers. In a few years, the volume of traffic will increase, law-breakers will overwhelm the enforcement system, and we'll find 2-wheelers happily mingling with fast cars on the Atal Setu and elsewhere. Accidents on Indian roads are so frequent that we are immune from the horror of such incidents, and a few more on these new high-speed roads will not worry anyone.

Till then, drive safe, and I pray that members of this forum will not be involved in any of those spectacular crashes that are so common on our new-age roads, bridges and expressways.

Here's what BHPian humyum had to say on the matter:

I think if we aim to be a global country on par with western powers, we must do away with this mentality of blanket ban of things.

Why can't a 250 cc + bike which can do 100-120 use the Atal Setu or the Sea link, why just blanket ban them based on the wheels? If speed is really the issue then trucks can never use flyovers or any of the expressways in India as most of them are slower than 150 cc bikes even with most of them having rated top speeds below 100. Also if speed is really the issue, then most highways in India allow two wheeler, go to Gujarat, Rajasthan etc and most of these highways have sections which have such superb roads and cars, bikes and bikes (of any cc) run in harmony, why is this allowed here then?

Two wheelers have categories, select a certain CC and bikes above which should be allowed on the expressway, freeway, Atal Setu and every highway. Let these guys enjoy the infrastructure too, in western countries that is how it works.

Laws need to be created with a more microscopic approach with maximum inclusiveness being the game.

Here's what BHPian Divya Sharan had to say on the matter:

As someone who loves riding, I find it taxing when I have to enter city roads because ORR isn't made accessible to me (talking to you Hyderabad), but we have had many mishaps in the past which brought about a blanket ban on a lot of things - 2 wheelers on ORR/expressways, tints etc.

Are they all meaningful? Probably not a 100%, but somewhere in between.

Are they easier to implement/monitor? Absolutely 100%!

Can my bikes do 100-120 sustained on the highways and expressways? Yes, almost all day long and it would be "me" who will give up first.

But can my bikes "always" outbrake a nano/Alto/Celerio from 120 to 0? Nope, it cannot be guaranteed!

For the record, I have a Ninja 650 and a Karizma ZMR which are good for long distance commutes but I don't challenge cars with them.

4 wheels = 4 sets of brakes on 4 contact patches which can balance themselves without human aid.

Inherently safer for the population when looking as a whole.

Its hurts some (enthusiasts + trained riders) but is mostly on the safer side for all. All law is like that, isn't it?

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

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