Two-wheelers, too risky for women?

Less Ridden

With growing financial independence, more working women in Delhi have started driving cars. However, lesser number of girls and women ride two-wheelers in Delhi as compared to other cities. This has also commonly been observed by those who hail from other places and have shifted here.

Automobile companies’ confirm the fact. According to them, Delhi is not a very encouraging market for two-wheelers for women owing to a variety of reasons. Safe and comfortable Metro and heavy traffic are some reasons.

Anu Anamika, National Marketing head of Suzuki Motorcycle, says, “In places like Ahmedabad, Surat, Bangalore, Chandigarh, Pune and Udaipur, which have seen     development over the years, even middle-aged working women ride gearless         scooters.”

“In fact in Bangalore, many women who have cars, also maintain two-wheelers because it is easier to ride scooters than a car in heavy traffic. Here, women don’t prefer riding scooters for a combination of reasons. Traffic is too heavy, distances are long and now the Metro is the first easy option available to those who don’t drive cars,” she says.

Piaggio Vehicle’s chairman and managing director Ravi Chopra says, in Delhi the percentage of women driving two-wheelers is lower than some of the other metros as commuting distances are longer.

“Women in Delhi prefer four-wheelers or private transport. Cities like Pune, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Chennai have a large number of women driving two-wheelers. These cities are more conducive for women to ride and distances are not as much when compared to Delhi,” says Ravi.

“When compared to other cities, traffic is heavier. It is quite tiring to ride in these conditions. The extreme weather conditions also make two-wheeler riding much more of an effort,” he adds.

Those who do ride two-wheelers in Delhi say, besides traffic, the issue of safety and security is also a concern. Priyanka Gupta, a professional who works in Gurgaon, says ‘unsafe’ environment for women in Delhi was her mother’s primary concern when she began riding gearless scooters around five years ago.

“Now, I ride freely and confidently but initially even I was scared. However, I too never ride long-distance because in Delhi traffic, it is neither easy nor safe. Now, I notice that a lot of girls in NCR also ride scooters. It does bring a sense of independence,” she says.

Payal Banik, who rode everyday from Delhi to her college in Faridabad, says the safety should not be an issue because girls usually drive safe.

“In the last six years, I have not experienced any misbehaviour. I do know that parents are generally hesitant fearing accidents and people tailing the vehicle. My father too had objected. But the number of women driving scooters, is increasing now,” says Payal.  

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