Beware of modified e-bikes in Maharashtra, govt warns of strict action
Illegal modification of electric bikes are soon to face legal action in Maharashtra. The state government has said that it may take action against those who modify e-bikes, be it dealers or private players. Anil Parab, Transport Minister of the state, issued a warning in this regard to those selling two-wheelers after making illegal alterations. The authorities may slap a fine of ₹1 lakh against dealers for selling such illegally modified e-bikes. For manufacturers who help modify these e-bikes could face a fine to the tune of ₹100 crore.
After-market vehicle modification, which is done also for cars and two-wheelers as well, is a popular culture in India which allows one to enhance looks and features over and above what the manufacturer sells at showrooms. However, there are a lot of changes made to the vehicles which, according to Motor Vehicle Act, are considered illegal. One of the most common modification done in Indian vehicles is bull guard to protect bumpers.
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The low speed e-bikes are also known as electric bicycles in India. Most such bikes available in India do not require any registration, and the rider can take them out without a valid licence or even without wearing a helmet. They are exempted from going through process that are required for other vehicles which are heavier and produce more speed. However, if modified, e-bikes with less than 25 kmph top speed can run at higher speeds.
The decision to take action against dealers and manufacturers of modified e-bikes was taken on Thursday, in a meeting called by Ajit Pawar, Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra. The Minister has instructed RTO officials in the state to keep an eye on such illegal modifications. He said that already more than 2,000 such vehicles have been checked by the officials. Action has been taken in more than 600 such cases. "No violation of the rule will be tolerated if you want to run these (low-speed e-bikes)," Parab said.
The minister also added that there have been several complaints of modified e-bikes being used on roads in recent times. He also warned against those who ride such modified e-bikes. He said police will tow these vehicles and action will be taken against owners for obstructing traffic if these e-bikes are not parked properly.
According to the transport department of Maharashtra, the state currently has around 93,000 registered electric bikes, which is more than 90 percent of overall electric vehicles in the state. RTO offices across the state have launched a drive against e-bikes that are violating rules.