Aninda’s blog: The need of proper training for bikers in the country

My first ride on a Rajdoot 175

I learnt to ride a motorcycle and be a biker through a crash course. I stole my dad’s old Rajdoot 175 on a quiet Sunday afternoon, got kicked in the heel a zillion times by the push back of the kickstarter on the left of the bike (a Rajdoot peculiarity), finally got it going and promptly had a crash. The process was repeated until I finally got the hang of it and stopped falling. But then I was faced with another dilemma, I needed to stop. Used to bicycles till then, the idea of using the right foot to apply brakes and not pedal didn’t come naturally. I squeezed hard on both levers like I would on my Hero Impact bike and… boom! …another crash. Thankfully, at a racy 10kmph, there’s only so much damage you can wreak on the bike.

An exciting biking lesson

By then the un-Sunday-afternoonish sounds had woken up 70 per cent of my 23-member family (I grew up in a traditional Indian joint family). An investigation into the sounds followed. The 15-member committee that normally couldn’t agree on simple things like which colour to get the house painted in, somehow discovered the unbridled joy of unanimity and gave their verdict. The end result was a thorough walloping. Probably deserved. With lesson one out of the way, dad, either as a result of uncharacteristic generosity or parental guilt (as a parent I now know for sure it must have been the latter), decided to teach me how to ride a bike. With absolutely no hopes of a win or even a draw, debates and discussion with mum were ruled out. A mission of this sort needed classified status at the highest level.

We planned and zeroed in on a suitable drop zone, hopefully one where my drops wouldn’t be particularly noticeable. And then we hit a roadblock. There was no crash helmet in my size. A cousin helpfully offered me his, complimenting me on my large-for-my-age head. I thanked him for having retained a small one on his shoulders and proceeded for the most exciting lesson of my life – learning to ride a motorcycle. Now I was lucky, dad knew a thing or two about basic motorcycle riding and was well acquainted with traffic laws. Two years of driving around in the UK as s student had made him realise that traffic rules when followed, got you home quicker.

At the time I hated the stickler for rules that he was and would try to be the imbecile I shouldn’t have been whenever I could. Because it was cool to be a rebel. Didn’t matter if it was with cause or without. Eventually, and thankfully, I grew up. Two decades on when I look at other imbeciles on the road on two-wheelers, many not in the prime of their youth, I sometimes wonder why common sense eludes the average Indian biker. If you want to hang a right turn then do so in your own lane. If you’re going to cut across the path of the oncoming traffic then you’ve just put yourself and maybe someone else in harm’s way. That’s not rocket science, that’s common sense. If you’re going to try and run a red light, you can get run over. Again, common sense.

“If you’re going to cut across the path of the oncoming traffic then you’ve just put yourself and maybe someone else in harm’s way. That’s not rocket science, that’s common sense.”

On a quiet Sunday afternoon with my own bike secure in the garage I also wonder if these imbeciles would have grown up like I did with a strict tutor like dad. Perhaps the time is ripe to start thinking about a training school for motorcyclists. Where the trainer knows what he’s doing and isn’t showing a noob how to just operate the controls of a motorcycle and then letting him loose on the roads. For that to happen however, first we need to train the trainers. Manufacturers and governments, are you listening?

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