Teenagers in the 16-18 age group can drive e-scooters as part of the India’s aim to become an all-electric nation by 2030.
Aimed at promoting electric mobility among first-time motorcyclists and the automotive fraternity, the initiative to allow 16-year-olds to drive e-scooters comes close on the introduction of green licence plate for electric motor vehicles.
Through the move, the Union government is also trying to curb the mounting fatal road accidents in the country by young riders who indulge in speeding, rash driving and road rage.
The Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) has amended the Central Motor Vehicle Rules 1989 to modify the ‘Category L1’ (motorcycle) to pave way for those in the 16- 18 age group to drive e-scooters that has started hitting the market.
Under the present law, youngsters in the 16-18 age group are allowed only to ride two-wheelers powered by a 50 cc engine. The minimum age to apply for a licence to drive a private motor vehicle is 18 years.
Till now, it was not required to obtain a licence for gearless electric scooter since these scooters were exempted. As the government has categorised the scooters as ‘light two-wheeler powered vehicle,’ a driving licence will be mandatory for using them. The e-scooters will also have to sport valid licence plates.
Though the initiative of the MoRTH is expected to come handy for the teenagers for commuting and going for coaching classes, road safety experts say it is going to be a new challenge in the road, especially in the urban areas where the young riders are more.
“The riders, who just have finished Std X, need to be cautious on the speed of e-scooters as they have high acceleration and deceleration compared to fossil-powered two-wheelers. Enough exposure needs to be given to them on road signages and traffic signals. The parents will have to ensure their children wear ISI approved headgears,’’ a road safety expert said.