To save the time, economise earnings, and escape traffic jams, bike riding is becoming popular. According to the latest national survey by the Motorcycle Industry Council of India nearly 20 percent motor cycle riders are women. The survey says that among all age groups, women make up 19 percent of motorcycle owners compared with less than 10 percent less than a decade ago. It is also said that in four motorcyclists on road one is woman. Resultantly one does not miss the frequent scenes of pillion riders with pillion passengers jostling their ways on roads, lanes and by-lanes round the clock to reach their destinations.
A pillion is an extra seat, cushion or pad behind the main seat of a bicycle, an auto transmission motorised two wheeler branded especially for women riders (scooty in common parlance), scooter, moped, motorcycle or a saddle on horse. The legacy of using one or more pads as a secondary seat on a horse back has carried over to motorcycles. A passenger in the seat is said to ride a pillion. For pillion riding a conveyance must have a pillion seat and footrests the passengers can reach with their feet. On all journeys the rider and the pillion passenger on a moped, scooter or motorcycle are required to wear a protective helmet for ensuring security against any injury to head. The helmets are to be fastened securely and their size & stuff must conform to regulations prescribed by the relevant technical authorities.
Riders and passengers of motor-tricycles and quadric-cycles called quad-bikes are also conditioned with the same requirement. All these precautionary measures are laid down to prevent physical injury where the apprehension of number of victims is nonetheless limited. Riding an auto-transmission or manual transmission motorized conveyance is neither a crime if licensed legally & driven properly nor a vice if run modestly and observing a moral or ethical framework. Same is the story of pillion riding. However, what has been disturbing the ethical sensitivities of many is posturing of some of the pillion riders.
Although most of pillion riders follow the norms of modesty, but sometimes a single sinner spoils the scene. One feels perturbed to see pillion riders who do so. Such sitting does not behoove well of decent persons. This wrong mode of sitting, besides being indecent, makes the riders prone to accidents as they fail to negotiate safely in certain situations. It is borne by the data that during calendar year 2018 amongst the motorized vehicles, two wheelers accounted for the highest share, 35.2%, of the total road accidents followed by car/jeep/van/taxi with 24.3 percent and trucks/lorries by 12.3 percent. The way pillion riding is contributing to daily knocks is worrying. It should, however, not be construed that pillion riding is detestable or discouraged for any gender or age group except fine tuning the mode of sitting in consonance with desirable way of life. As manners maketh a man, postures and etiquettes too contribute to that making.
Conduct, behavior, manners and speech define a personality. The valley of Kashmir is not a community that believes in or is taught to believe in that ends justify the means. It rather carries the conviction of justified means for justified ends. It is not brazen faced people. It stands for modesty in all circumstances of joy or sorrow, private or public. Any act bereft of sense does not sustain but it takes its toll before. Stunt biking or road rage costs heavily on human lives; this is not expected of rational human beings. The writer does not sermonize nor has any authority but only hints at a growing monster. Better to desist from such dangerous acts than to repent later on. Resort to safety as safety saves.
The author is a former Sr. Audit Officer and Consultant in the A.G’s Office Srinagar.