Lights on bikes can't be turned off

Lights on bikes can't be turned off

Lights on bikes can't be turned off

From April, the headlights on all new two-wheelers will stay on once the ignition is turned on, be it day or night.

The Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways had made it compulsory that new bikes be equipped with Automatic Headlamp On (AHO) from next month.

AHO, similar to daytime running lamps in cars, is found to be effective in improving the visibility of the vehicle by attracting the attention of road users and improving their response time. According to government data, two-wheelers accounted for nearly 30% of all accidents in Karnataka in 2015. The vehicles were involved in 13,155 of the 44,011 accidents.

Data from the National Crime Records Bureau showed that 32,524 of the 1.4 lakh people who died in accidents were two-wheeler riders. While the feature has become common in developed countries over the past 10 years, the Indian government decided to enforce it only last year. Meanwhile, flummoxed owners of new vehicles are quarrelling with representatives in bike showrooms, asking them to install a switch to kill the headlights.

“Pedestrians and people coming from the opposite side gesture at me to turn off the headlight. I got irritated and went to the showroom, seeking an explanation. I came to know about the rule only later,” said Alok Jhadav, who bought a new bike with AHO last month.

Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari had agreed to consider AHO for two-wheelers after a research organisation pushed it as one of the measures to enhance road safety.

Based on directions from the Justice Radhakrishnan committee, the ministry issued a notification in March 2016, making AHO mandatory for all two-wheelers from April 2017. The ministry has also made Bharat Stage IV engines mandatory for all new vehicles from the same date.

Another major decision is the uniform crash test for all vehicles, which will come into effect from April 2018.