To introduce safety measures for child passengers, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) has proposed that the speed limit of a motorcycle, with a child up to 4 years of age being carried as a pillion, shall not be more than 40 kmph. The ministry in a draft notification has also proposed that the driver shall ensure that the child pillion passenger, aged between 9 months and 4 years, must wear a crash helmet. "The speed of the motorcycle with the child up to age 4 years being carried as a pillion, shall not be more than 40 kmph," according to the draft notification issued by the ministry.
The ministry further said that the driver of a motorcycle shall ensure that for children below four years, safety harness shall be used for attaching the child to the driver of the motorcycle. A safety harness is a vest to be worn by the child, which shall be adjustable, with a pair of straps attached to the vest and forming shoulder loops to be worn by the driver. "This way, the upper torso of the child is securely attached to the driver. A feature by which this is achieved is by attaching the straps to the back of the vest and crossing the straps over the vest so that two large crossing-over loops are formed that pass between the legs of the passenger," the ministry explained.
The protective gear, including safety harness has to be lightweight, adjustable, waterproof and durable, according to the draft notification. This must be made of heavy nylon or multi-filament nylon material with high-density foam and should be designed to hold weight up to 30 kg.
The MoRTH has also asked for objections and suggestions to these draft rules, if any.
International Road Federation (IRF), a global road safety body working for better and safer roads, has welcomed the proposal by the MoRTH to limit the speed of two-wheelers with a child up to four years of age as a pillion passenger to not more than 40 kmph.
"A two-wheeler is more often than not the only mode of transport for lower and middle class families. The new rule, when implemented rigorously, will naturally help curb accidents," K K Kapila, President Emeritus, IRF said.