One day I was going to college by my scooty and I stopped at the red light signal along with the other motor vehicles. I wondered when I saw a cyclist crossing the red light in front of the traffic police and they didn’t stop the cyclist at all. Then I asked myself a question can a cyclist run a red light in India?
The police officials said, “No, a cyclist can not run a light. Because Traffic rules stay the same for all vehicles even if you are riding a bicycle. However, most people don’t follow the traffic rules while riding bicycles in India and they jump red lights”.
Running a red light in India is very risky and no one should follow this practice. Traffic rules are made for our safety so we should always obey them not only to escape fines & penalties but for our safety and others’ safety too.
If you are a cyclist or planning to ride a bicycle on the Indian road, you must be aware of some important guidelines for cyclist and rules of the road that a cyclist need to know. Also, how far should you ride the bicycle as a beginner?
Is a Bicycle Vehicle in India? Explained
According to Wikipedia, A bicycle is a human-powered vehicle having two wheels also known as a bike or cycle that is driven by paddling. The person who rides it they are called a cyclist or bicyclist. It does not have a motor so it’s not a motor vehicle but it also runs on the road. Therefore, it is a human-powered vehicle in India.
As the Motor Vehicle Act, 1988 states, “Any vehicle whether motorised or mechanically propelled, runs on the road and is considered a vehicle. It means a Bicycle is considered a vehicle in India”.
However, The Motor Vehicle (Driving) Regulations, 2017 states that the rider or driver of a motor vehicle should take some precautions in order to ensure the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists. They are also advised to give way to cyclists and pedestrians before making turns.
It means cyclists are treated as a special group of road users (like pedestrians) as per the Motor Vehicle Regulations, 2017.
Roads in India belong to motorised vehicles and thus it’s not safe for cyclists or pedestrians. So, when you ride a bicycle always take safety measures and precautions. Always wear safety gear while riding your bike.
What are the Traffic Rules for Cyclists in India (BHARAT)?
In India, traffic rules depend upon what state you live in Laws like wearing helmets may vary from state to state. However, there are a few general rules for riding a bicycle on Indian roads that all cyclists are bound to follow. Being a pro cyclist you should know the rules of the road.
- Always follow these basic rules of the roads to be safe and obey traffic laws.
- Concentrate and be alert while riding a bicycle or any other vehicle on the road.
- Don’t use your mobile phone for talking or listening to music while cycling.
- Make sure to examine the health of your bicycle and Don’t forget to wear your safety gear before going on a ride.
- Ride slow and beware of any kind of road hazards such as potholes, speed breakers, puddles, gravels, broken glass dogs etc. All of these can be risky and may cause accidents.
- The traffic rules are the same even if you are riding a bicycle so obey the traffic rules and make sure to ride the bicycle in the direction of the flow of traffic.
- Make sure to look at both sides before taking a turn. Also, look behind you before pushing breaks and make a signal before making the turn.
- Don’t ride your bike or bicycle on the sidewalk. You should always follow this rule wherever you live. Sidewalks are mainly for pedestrians.
- If you want to be safe and ensure the safety of others then always obey all traffic signals whether you ride a bike or a car. Traffic law stays the same for all vehicles running on the road.
- Always use your hands to make signals because bicycles don’t have indicators or blinkers so your hands play a vital role. By doing this you can make yourself safe and ensure the safety of others which minimises the chances of accidents.
- Never try to overtake any bicycle or any other vehicle. This may cause accidents and serious injuries.
The above-mentioned are the basic rules and regulations for cycling in India that each cyclist should know and obey.
Rules of Road Cycling: Learn How to Cycle on the Road in India
Guidelines for Cyclists in India
There are some important guidelines that must be followed by each cyclist in order to ensure their own safety of pedestrians. These are the cycling tips for cyclists in India:
- Before riding a bicycle on the road, always ensure that you can ride the cycle in a straight line for at least 10 metres, are able to stop suddenly without falling down, and can easily give signals with one hand to take the right or change the lane.
- Always ensure that your bicycle is easily noticeable even in dim lights. It should be painted in white, orange or white colour.
- Make sure that your bicycle brakes and bell rings are working properly.
- There must be reflectors on the front and rear mudguard, on the pedals and on the spokes of the wheels. Which makes the bicycle easily noticeable at night.
- Adjust your seat as per your height so that your feet can touch the ground easily which helps a cyclist to maintain the proper balance while riding on the road.
- You should always wear a cycling helmet which is made of light material (breathable) while riding a bicycle on the road.
- Don’t wear clothes which may tangled in the chain or in wheels so always wear appropriate clothes for cycling such as shorts or tight pants.
- To make yourself visible at night try to wear reflective clothing or accessories like belts, and ankle bands.
- You should never ride a bicycle with one hand on the handlebar except when giving a signal.
- A cyclist should not carry anything which might affect the balance or may tangled up with bike wheels or chains.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
Q1. Can cyclists be fined in India?
Yes, cyclists can be fined in India (rules may vary from state to state) if they break traffic rules such as driving on the wrong side of the road, running traffic signals etc. I have seen many cases where a cyclist has been penalised and had to pay a challan for violating traffic rules.
Q2. Can I jump a red light while riding an electric bicycle?
No! You should not jump a red light whether you ride an electric cycle or any other cycle. It’s not a good practice for your and others’ safety. You can jump the red light only when there is no traffic at all (mostly at night or in the early mornings).
Q3. Do you need a license to cycle on the road?
Bicyclists do not require a license to ride a bike or bicycle in India unless that bike can be considered a motorbike which may also depend on the city or area you are riding in. In India, You don’t need a license to ride a bicycle on the road. But you are not allowed to ride the bike on the expressways.
Q4. Do traffic lights apply to cyclists in India?
Traffic lights or signals apply to all the vehicles running on the road whether they are motorised or mechanically propelled. Being a cyclist you should obey the traffic rules and thus follow the traffic signals. Whether you ride a bike, motorbike or a car traffic rules stay the same.
But cyclists of India come under the special class of people who as almost treated as pedestrians. But It doesn’t mean that they should ride their bike on sidewalks.
Q5. Why do cyclists jump red lights?
Most of the time, cyclists jump the red lights because they are in a hurry or they don’t see the signal. But most bicyclists intentionally do this to save time and to feel safer. Because when they move along with the other motor vehicles.
Indian roads are dominated by motor vehicles and cyclists feel unsafe among them. Therefore they jump the red lights.
Q6. Should bicyclists stop at a red light even if they are on the bike lane?
No, They don’t need to do so. If a cyclist is riding on the bike lane they can continue riding their cycle and should not stop at a red light. Bike lanes are mainly made for cyclists which makes them safer than roads.
Q7. On which side of the road should we stay while riding a bicycle in India?
On the left side of the road, we should ride bicycles in India. By doing so you can ensure your safety and others as well. Don’t ride bicycles on the sidewalks as they are mainly for pedestrians. As a cyclist, you should always follow the traffic rules and guidelines for cyclists.
Final Thought on Can a Cyclist Run a Red Light in India
So, If someone asks you can a cyclist run a red light in India? You can say NO! Because the bicycle is a vehicle in India as per the Motor Vehicle Act. And they are not allowed to jump a red light in India as drivers of motor vehicles are not to.
I have also covered the basic rules of the road that each cyclist should know and obey. If you are a new cyclist, never run a light in India because running a red light is very risky for you and others as well.
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