Motorcycle wheel cover (at the rear) to become a mandatory fitment from October 2020, as per the Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 2020.
New Delhi: The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has issued a notification on 11th February 2020 to makes some amendments in the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988. The draft rules, titled as the ‘Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 2020’, will come into effect from 1st October 2020 (some of them later in October 2021).
The new set of rules revolve around vehicle windscreen standards, motorcycle pillion safety, two-wheeler luggage compartments (if applicable), spare wheels, etc. Out of the lot, the one concerning pillion safety in motorcycles is perhaps the most concerning.
According to the ‘Rule 123’, every motorcycle which has provision for a pillion rider should come equipped with a permanent hand grip (on the side or behind the rider in front) and footrests. While this may seem reasonable, the rule demands one more thing as well — a protective panel or disc that covers at least half the rear wheel to prevent clothes or any accessory of the pillion rider from getting entangled.
In other words, from October 2020, every new motorcycle (regardless of the category, pricing or output) will roll out with half the rear wheel covered. The draft does not mention anything about motorcycle saree guards even though, to an extent, it is obvious that the newly proposed wheel covers will do their purpose just fine. We cannot help, but imagine, how odd the motorcycles we know would look with such a wheel cover.
Indian motorcycle enthusiasts are already unhappy about the mandatory addition of saree guards on their favourite motorcycles (especially sports- or performance-focused products). In most cases, it is almost impractical or impossible to carry a pillion wearing saree on such motorcycles; thus making the saree guard a pointless fitment. This is also the reason why almost everyone who buys a sports motorcycle removes the saree guard right away.
Certain motorcycles sold in India come with an additional guard gripped around the wheel since the conventional mudguard/number-plate unit makes a compromise in practicality in a bid for better aesthetics. The addition wheel cover we see in today’s motorcycles are very effective (especially in the rain or mud) and the design of the newly proposed protective covering could be a development of that.
The draft rules are currently in a 30-day notice period which started from the day on which the notification was published in the Gazette of India for public viewing. It is worth the wait to see if the Ministry of Transport will go forward with the rule or will be objected by some individual or organisation from the two-wheeler industry.