Youngsters can soon start riding e-scooters

Youngsters can soon start riding e-scooters

The proposed move aims to counter underage riding.

Under the present law, 16 to 18 year olds can apply for a licence and are allowed to ride gearless two-wheelers below 50 cc. DH PHOTO

The Transport Ministry has proposed amending the Motor Vehicles Act to allow teenagers in the age group of 16 to 18 years to obtain a licence to drive electric scooters.

This is done to curb accidents caused by young riders in the country as the maximum speed of an electric scooter is 70 km per hour.

Manufacturers and sellers of e-scooters are looking forward to the new ruling as they believe this will encourage youngsters to ride on an environment-friendly path.

Sameer Ranjan Jaiswal, owner of Fae Bikes, a bike-sharing service, thinks that a 16-year-old is fit to start riding. He says, “It is a fact that many in this age group already ride a bike, with or without supervision. If this proposal becomes a law, teenagers might become more responsible riders. And since the speed limit for e-bikes is only 70 km per hour, rash driving can be ruled out and the speed can be monitored.”

While this might sound like a great choice, where will the riders go to charge their electric scooters if they run out of battery? “We are working towards providing 50 charging stations across the city by January. So if your bike has lithium ion backing, you can use the stations,” adds Sameer. 

Manager at Sri Manjunatha Electric Bikes in KR Puram, Praveen Kumar, is looking forward to increased sale of e-bikes if the ruling is passed. “We have sold over 600 e-scooters since 2014 and the buyers are usually around 25 years of age.” 

They sell e-scooters like Hero Electric Flash E5 (Rs 61,500), Hero Photon (Rs 92,500), Hero Optima E2 (Rs 65,000) and Hero Electric NYX (Rs 63,000) at the store. With a full battery, which takes four hours of charging, one can ride up to 60 km. 

Since the proposal has not been passed or initiated, officials aren’t too sure how this will pan out. P Harishekaran, Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Bengaluru, told Metrolife that it will become more challenging to handle situations if the age bar is decreased. “Many perpetrators of crimes get away with lighter sentences as they are minors. That’s probably why this proposal is in place. Also, most people can afford to buy scooters, causing the number of these vehicles to increase.”

“However, we haven’t even heard of this proposal, which allows people of 16 to 18 years to ride e-scooters. But if such a ruling is passed, we will have to abide by the government’s order and do the needful,” he added.

Proposed benefits for e-scooters

The Union government is thinking of introducing green license plates for the e-scooters. These distinctive number plates will allow easy identification, preferential treatment in parking, free entry in congested areas besides other proposed benefits like concessional toll.

What the rule says now

Under the present law, 16 to 18 year olds can apply for a licence and are allowed to ride gearless two-wheelers below 50 cc. But such a vehicle is not available in India.

However, it was not compulsory to obtain a license for gearless electric scooters. Now, the government has categorised it as a light two-wheeler powered vehicle and you will need a driving licence to use them.