Formulate rules on cyclists’ safety: child panel

In 2020, 812 cyclists were involved in accidents, and the number of deaths was 88.

The Kerala State Commission for Protection of Child Rights has directed that detailed rules be formulated for safety of cyclists in accordance with Section 138 (1A) of the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 2019, or steps be taken to amend the Kerala Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989.

A single bench of commission member K. Nazeer issued the direction to the Transport Secretary and the Transport Commissioner.

It was acting on a petition from child rights activist Sunanda seeking the commission’s urgent intervention in preventing accidents involving children on bicycles. For some time now, a number of reports were appearing in the media of children on bicycles being killed in accidents, she said, seeking a direction to the government to frame rules and find solutions to the problem.

As per Section 138 (1A) of the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 2019, the State government may, in the interest of road safety, make rules for the purposes of regulating the acitivites and access of non-mechanically propelled vehicles and pedestrians to public places and national highways.

The commission said that in case of delay in making rules, detailed orders containing guidelines for safety of cyclists, including children, should be issued by the Transport Secretary, Home Secretary, State Police Chief, and the Transport Commissioner.

The rules or orders issued should include the following guidelines: those riding bicycles at night should affix reflectors to the bicycles and ensure that it has the middle light. Helmets and reflective jackets should be worn mandatorily. Speeding should be regulated. The fitness of the bicycle should be ensured.

The commision directed that a portion of national highways or other roads should be demarcated for bicycle travel and steps be taken to establish cycle tracks.

Steps should be taken to create awareness among students of safety measures to be adopted while cycling and for providing them proper training.

Traffic police personnel should be posted on duty around schools and on nearby roads, particularly during peak morning and evening hours.

The State Police Chief was directed to make arrangement for regular police mobile patrolling and bike patrolling in school zones and on roads.

As per a Kerala Road Safety Authority report to the commission, 1,146 cyclists were involved in road traffic accidents in 2018. Of them, 86 died. In 2019, 1,103 cyclists were involved in accidents, with 101 deaths and 803 suffering grievous injuries. In 2020, 812 cyclists were involved in accidents, and the number of deaths was 88.

Alappuzha, Ernakulam, and Thrissur contributed the bulk of the accidents involving cyclists.

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