Yesterday's front-page report in this paper about the soaring number of motorbikes hitting the country's roads revealed some very problematic findings. Currently, there are 22.7 lakh registered motorbikes of which 15.11 lakh alone had been registered between 2011 and July of this year. But the number of valid licences stands at 11.32 lakh only. This is half the number of registered bikes in the country!
It is extremely concerning that there are hundreds of thousands of motorbike riders out there on the country's roads without a valid licence. This is the result of a combination of poor implementation of traffic laws and the utter lack of discipline of people on our roads. In fact much of the woes of the country's roads have to do with the people who use them—motorists, drivers, pedestrians, etc. We agree with transport experts who have cautioned that the rising number of motorbikes is not a good sign. Although it is understandable that more and more people are opting for motorbikes—due to it being a faster mode of transportation and because of the deteriorating traffic conditions—motorbikes are more accident-prone and motorbike users tend to violate traffic rules more than others.
An immediate measure would be the traffic police checking if motorbike users on the road possess a valid licence and taking action against violators. But this cannot be the only solution. BRTA should look into the possibility of capping the number of registered bikes and reevaluate its drivers' licence test process of motorbike users. But most importantly, the authorities must realise that without addressing the root causes—lack of an efficient public transport system, poor road infrastructure, and poor implementation of traffic rules, to name a few— the rise in motorbikes and lack of discipline on our roads will not go away.