Riding a motorcycle in India is a blissful experience if you possess a valid bike insurance policy. A motorcycle gives you a 180-degree view of the landscape. And India is where the landscape changes every few kilometres.
Although most Indian two-wheeler owners obey traffic laws, some unscrupulous motorcycle owners violate traffic laws, thereby putting others’ lives in peril. Traffic offences, such as driving on the wrong side of the road, driving without valid insurance or driving licence, drunken driving, etc., make Indian roads unsafe for motorists and pedestrians. A World Bank report states that India’s share is 11% in the list of global road accident fatalities.
To promote the virtues of good driving and make Indian roads safer, the Government of India runs various publicity campaigns in collaboration with state governments. The government has also amended the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, with the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 2019, and proposed steep fines for traffic violations.
Driving on the wrong roadside increases a two-wheeler owner’s liability to pay a hefty fine. Moreover, the violator may also have to serve a few months in prison. Driving on the wrong side, coupled with the non-possession of a valid two-wheeler comprehensive or a third-party insurance policy, can be physically and legally fatal. By doing so, the rider risks their lives and puts others’ lives in danger and is subject to severe fines and penalties by the traffic police. Read on to know the various rules regarding driving on the wrong side of the road and ways to steer clear of traffic fines.
Read more - A Mini Guide to Two Wheeler Insurance
What is Driving on the Wrong Side of the Road?
Before understanding what driving on the wrong side is, you must know about the driving side of your country. Almost all Latin American and European countries and the United States of America drive on the right side of the road. In contrast, countries like India, Bangladesh, Australia, Bhutan, Thailand, etc., drive on the left.
Driving on the wrong side of the road means going against the driving side, followed by all citizens in the country driving on the other lane. So, if you are in the USA, driving on the left side will be treated as driving on the wrong side of the road. Similarly, driving on the right side is treated as driving on the wrong road if you are in India.
If you drive on the wrong side of the road in India, you have to pay a fine and face imprisonment. This is irrespective of whether you possess important documents like a valid bike comprehensive or third-party bike insurance policy, driving licence, Pollution Under Control (PUC) certificate, and Registration Certificate (RC).
What is the Fine for Driving on the Wrong Side in India?
The fine for driving on the right side of an Indian road is between INR 500 and 1,000. Moreover, the violator may have to face imprisonment for three months. If this is coupled with riding without a licence, the violator has to pay INR 5,000 in addition to the fine for driving on the wrong side.
The fine for riding without a valid comprehensive or third-party two-wheeler insurance policy is INR 2,000 plus a 3-month imprisonment or community service and INR 4,000 for a subsequent offence.
What Happens If You Drive on the Wrong Side of the Road?
If you drive or ride on the wrong roadside and a police officer catches you, s/he will ask you to present your driving licence, insurance, registration certificate, and PUC certificate. If you cannot produce any documents, the police officer will inform you of the fine corresponding to the offence. It will be in addition to the fine you will pay for driving or riding on the wrong side of the road.
After calculating the total fine amount, the police officer will fill out a challan stating your name and the two-wheeler registration number. The officer will also seize your driving licence or registration certificate. You can then pay the fine on the spot or pay online and collect your licence from the police station under whose jurisdiction the offence takes place.
It is good to note that some offences are treated more seriously than others. For instance, if you do not wear a helmet when riding, your driving licence may get disqualified for three months. If your driving licence gets disqualified, you must visit the court after three months to get back your licence upon paying the fine. Also, if a minor individual rides a two-wheeler, the bike owner or guardian may face imprisonment for three years.
How to Avoid Paying Traffic Fines in India?
The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 2019, has proposed a steep hike in fines for violating traffic rules and regulations. Most Indian states have implemented the changes and revised the list of traffic fines. Here is how you can avoid paying traffic fines in India:
Purchase a Bike Insurance Policy
A bike insurance policy is a must when driving on the road. Unlike a third-party two-wheeler insurance policy, a comprehensive bike insurance policy provides higher coverage to the owner and third party. Move online if you want to get the best deals on bike insurance policies.
Carry Your Driving Licence at all Times
Driving without a valid driving licence can make you poorer by INR 5,000. Moreover, bike owners cannot claim insurance coverage if they encounter any bike accident without possessing a valid driving licence.
Learn the Rules Before Riding
It is wise to inquire about the local traffic laws before riding in a locality. The local traffic authorities lay down various rules, including one-way, restricted access, etc., to make the roads safer.
Leave Way for Emergency Vehicles
You must leave the way for emergency vehicles like ambulances, police, and fire services. Not giving way to an emergency vehicle may make you liable for a fine of INR 10,000.
Possessing a driving licence, two-wheeler insurance policy, registration certificate, and PUC certificate is mandatory when driving or riding on Indian roads. You should also refrain from driving on the wrong side of the road since such reckless behaviour may make you poorer and put you behind bars for three months.
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