Electric bike riders may have to get licence

Soon, driving an electric bike may also require a licence and compulsory wearing of helmet in the City with the State transport department considering the move to bring these two-wheelers under the ambit of the Karnataka State Motor Vehicle Rules.

According to officials, there have been several accidents involving battery-operated two-wheelers and since one does not require to wear a helmet or possess a driving licence, it puts not only the rider but also other road users at risk.

In some cases, the riders could not be traced and in the absence of mandatory insurance cover for other two-wheelers, the victims were also unable to claim any damages.

Also, there have been violations which have come to the notice of the Transport department wherein the engines are above the permissible power limits under the Motor Vehicle Rules and the riders are not fulfilling the necessary conditions to ride such vehicles.

A senior official of the Transport department said that there were at least half a dozen models of these two-wheelers available in the market, which operate on more than the mandatory 0.25 KW or 250 W power and without the models being registered with the Regional Transport Office (RTO) in gross violation of the Motor Vehicles Act.

Consequently, even buyers do not check if the model has been approved by the RTO, as any vehicle operating on more than 250 W requires a registration as well as a valid driving licence.

Under the stipulations, a battery-operated two-wheeler with an electric motor that has a power rating below 250W or an electric bike with a travelling speed is restricted to 25 to-35 kmph can be sold and operated on the roads without the need for a formal registration.

Users do not require a driving licence for using such a two-wheeler. However, one needs to check if the manufacturer has obtained a No-Objection Certificate from a testing/validating agency such as the Automotive Research Association of India.

Suresh, a dealer in battery-operated vehicles, said: “Currently, the market for battery-operated two-wheelers is unregulated and many companies sell these two-wheelers by importing kits from China and assembling them in small workshops and thus violate the prescribed norms, as the battery-operated two-wheelers are almost outside the purview of the Motor Vehicles Act.”

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