Is India the leader?
According to the WHO (World Health Organization) reports, there is one death every four minutes due to a road accident in India. Five years ago, it was reported that road accidents led to well over 1,30,000 deaths in India annually. India had overtaken China and now has the worst road-traffic accident rate worldwide. Over speeding, drunk driving, riding without safety accessories such as helmets, child-restraint systems, etc. have been cited as the chief reasons.
However, what India continues to witness is this:
News item: Total two wheeler sales in September 2015 declined 1.06% to 15,37,137 units as against 15,53,608 units in the same month last year.
Inference: Manufacturers and advertisers to ensure a boost in sales of two wheelers by October.
Youngsters are under an assault on their senses every waking moment. Product manufacturers and advertisers spare no means to remind them of innovations in every field. The most personal gadget of our times that has revolutionized the country, the mobile phone, is the medium of such messages along with other available media: TV ads, print ads, outdoor hoardings, radio commercials.
The lure of two wheelers
Pulsar. Unicorn. FZ. Activa. Mojo. Livo. These aren't mythical creatures battling each other in outer space. They're real. And they're in the minds of restless young men and women in India today. They belong to the family of two wheelers so coveted by young people today.
While banks and financial institutions outdo each other with user-friendly loans to get the products off their warehouses and showrooms, few if any at all, are apparently worried about what happens beyond the showroom.
Poor infrastructure, added risk
Indian roads and infrastructure are essentially unsuited to coping with such a huge influx of vehicles. Cars, jeeps, goods vehicles, buses, scooters, auto rickshaws - all jostle with one another on infrastructure that is not only limited but also being punished with incessant usage.
A metro-island like Mumbai, to cite just one example, regarded as the most densely populated in the country, had, in 2005, just around 1900 km of roads. Roads are just unable to keep pace with the increasing number of two wheelers being churned out.
Prepare for uncertainty
It might be considered negative and timid to be paralyzed by statistics. But there should be room for 'reason'. Buy a two wheeler - by all means. It's your money. It's your life. True. But spare a thought about mitigating some of the risks you automatically expose yourself (and your family) to.
Remember once you're out on your own on the road, you're on your own. Therefore, get some sensible protection for yourself and your vehicle. Opt for an comprehensive motor insurance and personal accident policy. Insurance isn't just about damage and injury and loss of finances. It's about respecting your health and having the leeway to bounce back after a setback. Insurance is about coping with a possible setback, it's about opting for resilience.