Founded as an East India Company trading post and serving as India’s capital under the British for over 100 years, Kolkata has a rich heritage. The fascinating colonial architecture is only complimented by the art galleries and the culture heavily influenced by Rabindranath Tagore. The best way to experience this vibrant city is by navigating bikes through its roads and down its lanes. However, bikers beware, the Kolkata Traffic Police spares no expense when it comes to keeping its city safe. Read on to know about the road safety rules in Kolkata.
General Road Safety Rules In Kolkata
While these are not specific to bikers, breaking any of these rules will lead to strict action being taken.
- Obeying rules: Obey all traffic signals, boards and signs, and follow them. Pay attention to signals given by other motorists and follow them to avoid mishaps.
- Important documentation: Documents like your driving license, vehicle registration certificate, insurance certificate, road tax & P.U.C. certificate should be with you while driving.
- Speeding: Do not speed or cross the speed limit.
- Drinking and driving: Driving under the influence of alcohol is illegal. You can get fined for up to Rs. 3000 or even arrested with your license suspended if you break this rule.
- Cell phones while driving: Do not use your cell phone while driving. Move to the left, slow down and halt if it is an urgent matter that needs attending. Do not suddenly slow down or move to the left without giving appropriate warning of the same.
- Driving dangerously: Apart from speeding, avoid sudden braking and acceleration harshly. You can get fined up to Rs. 2000 for this offence.
- Overloading: Do not overload your vehicles, whether it is with luggage or passengers. You can get fined up to Rs. 5000 if caught doing this.
- Changing lanes: Use the indicator or hand signals when changing lanes.
- Pedestrians: Stay alert and give way to pedestrians, even more so senior citizens, handicapped and children. This should be the norm irrespective of who has
- right of way.
- Parking: Avoid parking on the road and spots that have No Parking signs. This is a punishable act. Instead, use pay-and-park islands.
Bikers’ Guidelines & Road Safety Rules In Kolkata
Apart from the above mentioned rules, there are certain rules that pertain especially to bikers. We’ve listed down these rules and guidelines that are to be followed by bikers, not just in Kolkata but ideally everywhere.
- Always wear helmets. Also make sure you have on Protective Headgear helmets, as any other form of head protection is not counted by the Kolkata Traffic Police.
- Never slow down or stop abruptly. Move to the left and slow down.
- Do not ride at high speeds, no matter how empty the road is.
- Do not make or allow children to sit on the fuel tanks, or stand in front of you while riding.
- Stunt riding is not tolerated. Apart from being fined for dangerous driving, you can also be fined under Rule 125: Allowing anyone to stand, sit or to place anything in a way that disrupts the driver/rider.
- Do not ride or wheel your vehicle on the footpath. Kolkata has certain rules for cyclists but these do not apply to you.
- While passing a stationary or parked vehicle, allow sufficient clearance for the car doors. They can open suddenly and without warning so be mindful.
- Bikes being easily maneuverable, it is tempting to weave your way through traffic. Do not try this as it is risky and can cause mishaps.
- Always have both hands firmly on the handlebar when riding except when signaling other motorists.
- Avoid using bluetooth calls, or pushing your phone into the helmet to answer calls. Your eyes may be on the road but your mind can lose focus and lead to horrible accidents.
Initiatives By Kolkata Traffic Police
The Kolkata Traffic Police is constantly taking initiatives to improve the obedience rates of road safety rules in Kolkata. Under the Integrated Traffic Management System, they have introduced the concept of paying fines on the spot with the swipe machine that police are equipped with. They also have the e-Challan system in place, assisted by a number of CCTV cameras at signals that send proof of offenders to police control rooms.
Their latest initiative is called ‘No Helmet No Petrol’ to deter bikers who ride without helmets. Under this initiative, set to run till October 2020 or until further notice, petrol pumps will refuse petrol to bikers not wearing a helmet or carrying a pillion passenger not wearing a helmet.
Kolkata is a city filled with rich experiences and even richer food! Biking around is a very doable possibility, and you can even rent a bike within the city for whatever duration you need. Simply follow the road safety rules in Kolkata to avoid unpleasant brushes with the law, and enjoy this city to the fullest.