In an interesting bit of global news, we have learnt that Germany will now allow for scooter riding from the age of 15. The German Parliament (Bundestag) has approved this allowing citizens from the age of 15 to swing a leg on a gearless scooter. The previous age was 16, and has now dropped to a limit of minimum 15 to acquire a moped license. The reasoning behind this is that young travelers can commute easily in remote locations where the road & rail network might be weak. Since 2013 an experiment was being run in the eastern parts of Germany allowing mopeds up to 50cc to be used by 15 year olds, and now this has seen a nationwide rollout.
The question is, even in India, there are many locations which are so remote that commuters have to wait hours for a bus. Forget railways or other faster modes of transport. So should India follow such an initiative to allow 15 year olds to access a 50cc moped?
The problem with the Indian roadways is not just the road, but poor road safety education. Getting a driving license is so easy, that rarely does a motorist even understand all of the road signs. Giving access to 50cc mopeds is a good idea in the sense of allowing better connectivity, but how will good road usage and safety be monitored. Also, these 50cc mopeds will have a limited speed, so how will things be governed not to allow them on fast-pace highways.
India ranks among the top countries in the world for road fatalities. While this initiative might be noble in other countries, we think that in our country, this might be abused more than put to good use. What do you think? Is a 15 year old responsible enough to ride around on a moped. And in the rural context, is this going to help?