Riding gearless scooters from the age of sixteen could soon be legal as a group of ministers have forwarded a proposal to the parliament to allow license for scooters after 16 years of age. The current age limit of riding and driving a light motorised vehicle is 18. Confirming the same, Minister of State for Road Transport and Highways, Pon Radhakrishnan said, "There is a proposal to allow licence after 16 years of age for gearless scooters below 100 cc."
The proposal was part of a number of suggestions made for a stricter road safety bill and will allow riders above the age of 16 to ride gearless scooters that have an engine capacity under 100cc. This naturally makes motorcycles not eligible for the 16 year old license holders. The government plans to keep a tab on the performance of these scooters with speed limiting devices or speed limiting functions installed, restricting the maximum speed limit to 80 kmph. At present, the TVS Scooty Pep+ and Streak are the only models to meet these norms powered by a 87.8cc single-cylinder engine.
The ministry is yet to confirm if the proposal will be incorporated in the more stringent road safety bill that also has higher penalties and negative points on the driving license as part of the suggestions. While the concept may still be under evaluation in India, several developed countries already issue a driving license from the age of 16. In the European Union, the the two-wheeler license norms are very strict and issued under different categories based on the age of the rider which limits the bikes he/she can legally ride. This, in turn, ensures that high performance bikes do not fall under novice hands.
While the move certainly would work out for two-wheeler manufacturers prompting a myriad of entry-level scooters with a sub-100cc engine, we also need to warrant for better riding skills and techniques. This means that the complete license issuing process needs to be a lot more stringent than it currently is; whereas riders themselves will have to be educated about safe riding and wearing protective gear more effectively. Nevertheless, the process though will take time to fruition, given it's still in the proposal stage.