Road safety activists question MotoGP's impact on Indian motorcyclists
India is one of the leading countries when it comes to unsafe two-wheeler riding practices. Also, the country records an alarmingly high number of deaths and critical injuries every year due to fatal road accidents and many of these cases happen due to reasons such as high-speed riding, not wearing helmets etc. In such context road safety activists in Noida have reportedly questioned the viability of an event like MotoGP Bharat, which is an extravaganza of motorcycles running at 350 kilometres.
PTI has reported that Raghvendra Kumar, who is also known as the 'Helmet Man of India', and regularly collaborates with the Noida Traffic Police as a volunteer to spread awareness about road safety, has questioned the impact of MotoGP Bharat's impact on Indian motorcyclists.
Kumar reportedly said that an event like this will impact the impressionable minds of youngsters, who are enticed to replicate the thrill on their vehicles. He also reportedly wrote to President Droupadi Murmu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting that the race be avoided. "The MotoGP race takes place in 30 countries. India will become the 31st country on this list. But what are we gaining from this? Name or profit? This high-speed bike race is happening in a country that accounts for maximum road accidents in the world," Kumar said, while also adding, “I know we cannot stop the race from happening. But a message must go to the people of the country that they should not participate in this event. In a country where 1.50 lakh people, a large number of them young, die on the road annually despite upper-speed limits of 100 kilometres per hour, why are we are we celebrating a show of 350 kilometres per hour."
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The report has also quoted another activist Amit Gupta saying that road safety is one of the most ignored sectors in Noida and Greater Noida. He has cited media reports saying that eight people died in the district in the last week alone and the victims were either pedestrians or those on two-wheelers. "Around 400 deaths are recorded in the district every year in Gautam Buddh Nagar. How can we celebrate MotoGP, knowing well that at least one person is losing their life daily on city roads?" Gupta said.
The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways revealed that a total of 1.53 lakh lives were lost in India in 2021 due to road accidents, while the number was 1.31 lakh in 2020 and 1.51 lakh in 2019. The figures for 2022 and 2023 are yet to be published. According to the World Health Organisation, at least one out of every 10 people killed on roads across the world is from India.