The city has a growing biking community and group rides are becoming a weekend activity now. Safety of the riders and the people on the road continues to be a worry for many. In the background of the incident where a 11-year-old was knocked over and killed on the spot on the outskirts of Devanahalli recently, Bengalureans and members of the biking community raise their concerns over safety on the road.
Biking enthusiasts like Sreedhar SV from 'Kings Raid' says that safety of the people on the road and the rider are always the focus on any ride. "We do trips to Ooty, Goa, Mangaluru, Gokarna, Sakleshpur and Agumbe quite often. However, short or long the trip is, we make sure that we never cross the speed limit. We always ask our members to stick within the 60 to 80 km speed, setting the maximum speed as 90 km. This is keeping in mind the safety of the rider and other people on the route," he says.
The group always travels two riders in a row and makes sure that they retain their speeding limit within the city between 30 to 40 km. "We are very particular about riding with quality helmets and proper riding gear. What's the whole point of riding on a bike which costs lakhs and wearing a Rs 100-helmet?" he asks.
Vishal Agarwal from 'Bangalore RD350 Club' asserts that every biking club insists that their riders travel well within the speed limit. The group does Sunday rides regularly to places like Avalabetta, Nandi Hills, Lepakshi and Krishnagiri. Before every ride, the group reminds each member that they cannot overtake their rider leading the ride or stay behind the rider who's at the last.
"We travel in a formation and maintain enough distance among ourselves. Requisites for a ride include wearing arm guard, knee guard, a jacket which protects the back, shoulders and the spinal cord," he adds.
When the group is about to set off to a new location, they always have a member check the route out two weeks in advance to avoid unforeseen incidents.
Being calm on the road and maintaining the decorum is an absolute requisite, points out Kaushik Vastare, an administrator with 'Highwaymen Moto-biking Club'. "Each one of us has the riding gear on and we ride in a train formation. This would mean that each member would be only able to see the person in front of them and behind them. We make sure that traffic signals are observed, one doesn't ride on footpaths and road rage is completely avoided," he says.
Overspeeding when one feels the road is clear is a strict no at the club. "Each member is expected to do predictive riding, where the rider determines the amount of time needed to overtake and judges according to proper visibility," he says.
When hosting rides, the group makes sure that it does not have more than 30 people participating in a ride. "'The more the merrier' sounds good but it is difficult to keep track of a lot of people during a trip. Before every ride we do a briefing where I explain how the signals are done and do not encourage leg signals. Also signs for obvious obstacles need are not given," says Kaushik.
The group also does not believe in stopping other motorists on the road and makes sure that they pass by before continuing the ride. "A ride does not have space for any ego clashes," he says.