Seated amongst foods of massive mountains, Manali is one of India’s most famous hill stations and a top tourist destination. It is nestled in the Beas River valley, and offers a range of activities. Adventure lovers can choose from several adventure activities, nature lovers can go on treks and photographers can make the best of the unbeatable views. However, the roads leading to Manali and within Manali itself kick up a few challenges. From basic rules to specific things to keep in mind when biking in Manali, read on for the road safety rules in Manali.

Road Safety Basics

Of course, it is important to remember and follow basic road safety guidelines irrespective of where you are. But in a hilly place like Manali, it could be the difference between life and death. Unlike the major metropolitan cities, the roads in manali can get quite rough. Additionally, several roads leading out of the city have steep drops on one side as they curve through the mountains. Remember these road safety basics, and you should do just fine.

  • Always keep to the left side of the road when driving, and allow oncoming traffic to safely pass on the right if there are no dividers or lanes. 
  • Always overtake a vehicle from the right side. If the road is narrow, do not overtake.
  • Always slow down when approaching a corner or intersection. This is especially important when navigating the winding roads of Manali. Seeing oncoming traffic is near impossible and it will be too late to slow down.
  • Ensure your vehicle is parked as conveniently as possible, and is not obstructing the road, other motorists or pedestrians in any way. Never park at a designated No Parking zone.

Alongside these, it is also important to understand and obey the road markings and road traffic hand signals. In a smaller town like Manali, you’ll be resorted to following these indications in the absence of overwhelming police presence or technology to assist motorists. Following these makes it safer for you as well as the other motorists.

Road markings help you understand what is allowed and what isn’t, like overtaking or switching lanes. Hand signals are other motorists’ ways of communicating with you. Misunderstanding or not following these can lead to being fined, and in worse cases, severe mishaps.

Road Safety Rules In Manali For Motorists

  • Helmets: The rider and the passenger riding pillion must both have helmets on. This can be the difference between life and death.
  • Traffic signs: Understand all the road signs and obey them. Breaking this rule is certain to have you fined.
  • Valid Driver’s license: Always have your valid driver’s license and other documents like RC (Registration Certificate) book, Insurance papers, PUC (Pollution Under Control) Certificate on you when driving your vehicle. 
  • Side indicator lights: Ensure you use the side indicator lights when changing lanes. This is especially important when rain, fog or snow cause low visibility in Manali. 
  • Obey Speed Limits: Always follow the speed limits, irrespective of how empty the road is.
  • Use Fog Lights & SOS for safety: This is especially important when the rain or snow hampers visibility in Manali.
  • Do not Drink and Drive: Not only is driving under the influence a punishable offence, it is also careless and extremely dangerous.
  • Avoid Mobile Phones while driving: Avoid looking at or using your phone when riding or driving. While several bikes come with bluetooth features for calls, your mental attention can easily drift even though both hands may be on the handlebars. Safely stop at the side of the road if you have to. 
  • Riding speed: Apart from slowing down at certain areas around hospitals, schools and colleges, always ensure you’re riding at a decent speed. It may be tempting to speed up and overtake a bus or truck but the roads around Manali can be deceptive. Play it safe for a hassle-free trip.
  • Do not overload: Bike or car, follow the weight limit and do not overload.

Road Safety Rules In Manali For Pedestrians

  • Direction of walking: Always walk on the left side of the road.
  • Jaywalking: While jaywalking is not yet penalised, it is still wrong and can get you into trouble. Pay attention to the road and the vehicles when walking.
  • Zebra crossings: Always cross at zebra crossings. Ensure you look both ways when crossing, and avoid talking or looking at the phone until you have crossed.

Police Initiatives

As part of ‘mission zero’ that deals with implementation of traffic rules, the traffic police will soon launch the intelligent traffic management system (ITMS) in Manali. It has already successfully been launched in Kullu. This involves installing Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) CCTV cameras. 

These record the number plate of a vehicle when it is caught committing an offence like speeding, or not wearing a helmet or seatbelt. The time and date are also recorded, and the details are sent to computers being monitored at the police control rooms. With this system in place, the road safety rules in Manali are expected to be taken more seriously, making it a safer destination for both national and international tourists. 


Manali is a breathtaking destination, and bike trips from Manali to nearby locations are every biker’s dream. But, ensure your biking basics are in place when you rent a bike. Check things like tyre pressure and brakes, and functioning of lights. We can help you when it comes to renting a bike in Manali, so with the right bike and by following the road safety rules in Manali, you can have a great time exploring this hill station.

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