BENGALURU: The chronic problem of chaotic traffic in Bengaluru may never get solved unless proper riding schools for two-wheeler licence seekers are established systematically and in a corruption-free atmosphere. With driving schools existing only for four-wheeler drivers seeking licences — and none for two-wheeler riders — at least 70 per cent of the city’s vehicle population plying on the roads, comprising two-wheelers, is almost unregulated as far as safe riding skills and granting licences are concerned.
The issue came to the fore when an Indo-Australian company focusing on safe driving initiatives conducted a session for the traffic police department on February 5. One of the focal points of the company, V Drive Safe (India), was to provide proper education to the instructors who teach driving. But, there are none in the two-wheeler segment, with the ones doing the instructing being parents, siblings or peers -- who themselves are as bad as what their “pupils” turn out to be.
The training was conducted at the DCP Traffic Office in the presence of R Hithendra, Additional Commissioner Traffic. “Our feedback to the training was that driver education is always focused on four-wheelers, but here, 70 per cent of vehicles are two-wheelers. And yet, hardly any attention is given to them. There is no riding school for two-wheelers either. We said, if you want to bring about any change please focus on two-wheelers also,” Hithendra told The New Indian Express.
As of December, 2017, Bengaluru has 50,30,528 two-wheelers of a total vehicle population of 72,58,889, which constitutes 69.30 percent.
However, experts say, just having driving schools will not solve the problem. Traffic expert Ashish Verma said more than having driving schools, their method of training needs more focus. “People are trained only to control and manoeuvre the vehicle in traffic, and even the requirement for licence is the same. But, this will not make an applicant a safe driver or rider.”
Verma agreed with Hitendra and said the riding habits of two-wheeler riders is the cause for many accidents, and that is the area needing more focus.
Not that easy to get a driver’s licence in the west
Verma said that in most western countries, applicants go through extensive training and education for driving. Following this, they are allowed to drive for some period only under certain controlled conditions. After they complete that, they again undergo a test to get a full licence. In India, driving schools teach applicants only how to control the vehicle and manoeuvre it in heavy traffic.
Applicants are issued learner’s licence valid for 6 months after a theory test on road rules. Then, the learner’s licence holder can apply for regular driver’s licence. The test for licence usually involves driving a car at low speed for a few hundred metres in low to moderate traffic. In countries such as Sweden and Australia, the candidate drivers are thoroughly grilled during tests to check their skills and adaptability to changes in traffic conditions, besides alertness.