I always had a hidden wish of learning to ride a bike some day and have my own bike. But knowing my family, I never thought I would ever get to learn to ride a bike, forget about buying one. No, it is not that two wheeler is not allowed in my family, but because of fear in the minds of my parents, I always let go of my wish. I had learnt to ride a bicycle as a kid, but was never confident of riding it. Balancing the bicycle was something which I could not master. This led me to believe that I may never be able to learn riding a bike. So, the dream of riding a bike one day was always to remain a dream unfulfilled. So, I had finally decided to learn only a four wheeler where there is no issue of balancing on two wheels.
One fine day suddenly my father asked me why don’t I learn to ride a bike and I was pleasantly surprised. Here, the man who I thought would never allow me to ride a bike was telling me to learn it. All of a sudden, I could see my dream fulfilled. I could even visualize myself riding one. I was still not confident of learning it as I had a fear of balancing two wheels. So, a month passed to convince myself that I can do it. Soon, the hunt for a second hand bike started which I can use for learning. I soon realised there are many who were ready to help me to achieve this goal. One colleague helped me to buy a second hand Hero Honda Glamour and another colleague agreed to teach me. Initially, because of various unavoidable circumstances, the learning got delayed. Later my cousin Paras stepped in and offerred to teach me. So, soon the lessons started and after 15 days of training I finally could learn it and learned to ride all alone. I also realised that I had learnt it too late and there were a few technicalities which I am still not perfect at. So, it was finally decided to sell the bike and buy a gearless scooter. So, I bought a Hero Maestro which is such a wonderful scooter to ride.
Once I started riding it regularly to work and back home, I started attaining perfection. I have been riding the scooter since almost 4 months and am improving my riding skills every day. It has been such a great experience riding a two wheeler on the road. One thing I have seen is that we in India lack traffic sense and civic sense. As a pedestrian, I always blamed to vehicle drivers to be the ones who did not care for people who walk on the road. However, after myself being a vehicle owner and a rider, I have realized that sometimes pedestrians are also the ones who lack traffic and civic sense. Talking about the traffic sense, most of the vehicle owners behave as if the road is their personal property. Bikers mostly ride on a very high speed ignoring the fact that there are other vehicles on the road and they may themselves meet with accidents and may get hurt. Speed limits on highways are just for display, nobody follows it. Wearing a helmet may be compulsory, but very few people (like me) wear them. If there is no traffic cop, nobody stops at red signals. They will not even give signals when turning left or right or while changing lanes. The Indian roads are of very poor quality and each ride is a bumpy ride. There is always a fear of skidding if you are not riding at normal speed. People love to overtake other vehicles and in that process they fail to realise that they are risking theirs as well as others’ lives. We, Indians love to break rules and take pride in admitting it. There is no fear of law and order. If caught they will bribe the cops and then boast of the same. And when a group is discussing corruption, they will say how corrupt the police department is and will also narrate some cooked up stories. The worst of all are the Auto Rickshaw drivers in Mumbai. They will purposely park in no parking zones, will not give signal while crossing lanes, will always try to overtake other vehicles and will behave as if they are the owners of the roads. They are the worst when it comes to good manners and will always be ready to take up a fight with each and every person.
While riding in the city, we have to be extra cautious. If a vehicle hits a pedestrian due to no mistake of the driver, people will still be ready to trash him. The general attitude of pedestrians is that it is not theirs but the duty of the drivers and riders to make sure that they don’t cause them trouble. People would not give way even if they are told to do so and will expect the drivers to make their own way. People especially, youngsters have a bad habit of talking on the phone while walking on roads and they become so much engrossed in the tele talk that they will not pay attention when you blow the horn of the vehicle. Some college going kids always have earphones plugged in and they listen to music or talk on phone while walking on the road. It is a very dangerous practice as they cannot hear the noise of vehicles.
There is no doubt that there are so many road accident cases happening daily in our country. There is a need to have stricter rules and laws for road safety and equally strict laws to ensure that the law is followed by the law enforcers. Even the public need to be educated about the traffic and civic sense. Till then I will keep on polishing my riding skills and plan for my 4 wheeler training. And yes, the Hero Honda Glamour has been sold and the new owner is proud of his possession.