India reports 6600 cycle deaths in road accidents in 2012
The need to update and mandate safety standards for bicycles warrants fixing retro reflective tapes at specified points on cycles to make them visible at night. Bicycle users are a vulnerable group prone to road accidents. In 2012, around 6,600 cyclists were killed in road accidents. Poor visibility due to lack of proper reflective devices on cycles is a major cause of accidents with motorized vehicles.
MoRTH is working closely with Department of Consumer affairs and Bureau of Indian standards to improve safety of bicycles. This involves manufacturing of bicycles through quality control. The ministry has provided the quality standard for retro-reflective tapes to be used.
Reflective tapes on bicycles are to be fixed free of cost for easy spotting of cyclists. This joint initiative of International Road Federation (IRF), MORTH, and Government of India is already on in Delhi, and is to be implemented in Chandigarh ad Ludhiana, Ahmedabad, Bangalore and Kochi. In Delhi, IRF, Delhi Traffic Police, and MoRTH recently carried out putting retro reflective tapes on about ten lakh bicycles.
The free programme is being initiated through various corporates and manufacturers under their CSR programme. It includes putting white tape on front lamp bracket, red tape on rear mud guard, and yellow tape on seat stay and front fork. After pedestrians, cyclists are the second most vulnerable road users. Reflective tape on a cycle makes them visible from a distance of at least 100 meters at night and during foggy conditions. In 2012, around 114 cyclists died in road mishaps in Delhi. Of 6,600 cyclists losing their life in accidents, Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu accounted for the maximum deaths, accounting for over 50% of fatalities across India.
The government, Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) and industry Ministry is aware of the importance of installation of reflective tapes on bicycles to enhance safety. BIS has already done a technical evaluation and final decision is pending.