Antony Raju | Photo: Facebook
Thiruvananthapuram: A meeting chaired by Kerala transport minister Antony Raju agreed to allow a single child below 12 years to travel on a motorcycle besides a pillion rider. No fines would be collected for such violations until further directives from the union government.
Earlier, the state government approached the union government seeking relaxation in the Motor Vehicles Act, which prohibits more than two people from travelling on a motorcycle. It is quite a casual sight in Kerala to see children accompanying their parents in two-wheelers, often without helmets. Though this is a violation of the law, enforcement officers often turn a blind eye towards it, leading to the formation of a popular belief that it is okay to carry children as a third passenger. It is even common for some to go on a bike with two children.
When the government decided to operate AI-powered cameras, collecting fines from travellers proved challenging, as people argued that it was impossible to leave children or to change modes of transportation. Considering motorcycles as a popular transportation among middle class and lower middle class communities, the government decided to request the union government for relaxation. However, there was no response.
It may be noted that the present exemption is only for one child. It is necessary to have safety options like helmets and bike seat belts.
It is worth noting that 675 out of 726 cameras installed are used to identify violations related to the use of car seat belts, helmets and use of mobile phones while driving. Further, 25 cameras would be used to identify illegal parking and four others for overspeeding.
Transport minister also said that the department would levy fines for offences detected by the AI cameras from June 5 onwards.