Can a Cyclist Run a Red Light in India? 10+ basic traffic rule explained

by | Aug 20, 2023 | Tips & Guide

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On my way to school one day, I stopped at a red light signal with the other cars and trucks and came to a complete stop. When I witnessed a cyclist jumping a red light in front of the traffic cops and they made no attempt to stop him, I was curious. This made me question myself, Can a Cyclist Run a Red Light in India? and Is it legal?

No, a cyclist is not permitted to run a light. For the simple reason that the laws of the road do not differentiate between bicycles and other vehicles. Unfortunately, the majority of Indian cyclists disregard traffic laws and frequently jump red lights when cycling.

It’s extremely dangerous to run a red light in India, hence nobody should do it. In order to protect ourselves and others from fines and penalties, we should always abide by traffic laws, which are designed with our safety in mind.

When riding a bicycle on an Indian road, or if you intend to do so. There are several regulations of the road and general recommendations for cyclists that you should follow. Concerning the bicycle, how far should you ride the bicycle as a beginner?

Are Bicycles Considered Vehicles in India?

Bicycles, often known as bikes or cycles, are human-powered two-wheeled vehicles powered by pedaling. The individual who rides one is referred to as a cyclist or biker. Even though it doesn’t have an engine, it qualifies as a vehicle in India because it can move on the road.

According to the Motor Vehicle Act of 1988, states that any vehicle whether motorized or mechanically prolled runs on the road and is considered a vehicle. Thus, a bicycle is seen as a form of transportation in India.

Therefore, in order to protect the safety of bikers and pedestrians, drivers and riders of motor vehicles are required by The Motor Vehicle (Driving) Regulations, 2017 to take certain measures. Additionally, it is essential that they allow a way to pedestrians and bicycles before turning.

According to the Motor Vehicle Regulations, 2017, it indicates that cyclists are considered an exclusive group of road users.

India’s roads are for motorized cars, thus riding a bicycle or walking is not safe. Thus, always exercise caution and safety when riding a bicycle. Bike riding requires you to always wear safety gear.

What Traffic Rules Apply to Cyclists?

Can a cyclist run a red light India - An Image showing all the traffic signals
image credit:

The state in which you live determines the traffic laws in India and they differ from state to state. States may have different laws regarding things like helmet use. Nonetheless, there are a few common guidelines that all cyclists must abide by when riding a bicycle on Indian roadways. Knowing the traffic laws is expected of a professional cyclist.

Always abide by these fundamental traffic regulations and road safety guidelines to be safe.

1. Maintain focus and alertness when riding a bicycle or any other kind of vehicle on the road.

2. Avoid talking on the phone or playing music on your phone while riding a bicycle.

3. Before heading out for a ride, check the condition of your bicycle, and don’t forget to put on your safety gear.

4. Ride slowly and watch out for any potential road dangers, including dogs, potholes, speed bumps, puddles, gravel, and broken glass. Any of them might be dangerous and result in mishaps.

5. You must respect traffic laws and ride your bicycle in the direction that traffic is moving in order to comply with the same set of regulations that apply to all vehicles.

6. Before you take a turn, be sure you’ve looked at both sides. Additionally, provide a signal before turning and glance behind you before applying brakes.

7. Avoid using the sidewalk for bicycle or bike riding. Regardless of where you live, you should always abide by this code. Pedestrians use sidewalks primarily.

8. In order to protect your own safety as well as the protection of others, you should always obey traffic signals, whether you’re driving a car or riding a bike. For any vehicle operating on the road, the traffic laws remain the same.

9. Since bicycles lack blinkers or indicators, you must always use your hands to make signals. You may reduce the likelihood of accidents by taking these precautions to protect yourself as well as others.

10. You should never attempt to pass a bicycle or any other kind of vehicle. Serious injuries and accidents might result from this.

All cyclists in India should be familiar with and abide by the aforementioned laws and guidelines.

Rules of the Road: How to Ride a Bicycle in India

Tips for Cyclists in India

a man casually cycling on a cycling lane

Any cyclist who wants to protect both himself and other pedestrians must abide by a few key rules. The following are cycling tips for Indian cyclists:

1. Whenever you ride a bicycle on the road, be sure you can stop quickly without losing your balance, ride the bike in a straight path for at least ten meters, and provide signals with one hand to change lanes or turn right.

2. Make sure your bicycle is always visible, especially in low light. It has to be painted either orange, white, or white.

3. Bell rings and breaks need to function correctly.

4. The front and rear mudguards, the pedals, and the wheel spokes all need to have reflectors. This helps to make the bicycle visible at night.

5. To ensure that your feet can readily contact the ground and assist you maintain good balance when riding on the road, adjust your seat according to your height.

6. When riding a bicycle on the road, you should always wear a light thermocool helmet.

7. Avoid wearing clothing that might get caught in the chain or on the wheels by always wearing cycling-specific attire, including tight trousers or shorts.

8. Try to include reflective items in your outfit, such as belts and ankle bands, to increase your visibility at night.

9. On a bicycle, you should never ride with just one hand on the handlebar unless you are signaling someone.

10. Nothing that may damage a cyclist’s balance or get entangled in their bike’s chains or wheels should be carried by them.

I’m sure this cycling tips will help you a lot.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs):

Q1. Why do cyclists run red lights?

Either because they are in a rush or because they fail to perceive the signal, bikers frequently run red lights. However, the majority of riders do this on purpose to feel safer and to save time. Considering that they go alongside other cars. Cyclists feel frightened on Indian roads since motor cars predominate there. As a result, they run red lights.

Q2. Are bicycles in India subject to fines?

In India, cyclists who violate traffic laws—such as driving on the wrong side of the road or disobeying traffic signals—may be subject to fines (the exact penalties varies by state). After breaking traffic laws, I have witnessed several instances when cyclists were fined and required to pay a fine.

Q3. Do cyclists in India have to obey traffic lights?

Any vehicle operating on the road, whether it be motorized or mechanically driven, must obey traffic lights or signals. As a bicycle, you have an obligation to observe traffic laws and signals. The regulations of traffic remain the same whether you drive a vehicle, motorcycle, or bike.
On the other hand, Indian bikers belong to a unique group of people who are almost considered like pedestrians. However, this does not imply that kids ought to ride their bikes on sidewalks.

Q4. Is a license required to ride a bicycle on the road?

Unless the bike qualifies as a motorcycle, which may also depend on the city or location you are riding in, riders in India are not required to get a license. In India, a bicycle driving permit is not required. Biking on expressways, however, is prohibited.

Q5: Even if they are in the bike lane, should cyclists stop at a red light?

No, they are not required to. Bicyclists are allowed to continue riding in the bike lane and are not required to stop at a red light. Bicycle lanes are safer than roads since they are primarily designed with cyclists in mind.

Q6. When cycling in India, which side of the road should we stay on?

In India, we should ride bicycles on the left side of the road. You can protect not just yourself but also others by doing this. Since sidewalks are primarily intended for pedestrian use, bicycles should not be ridden on them. You should always abide by the traffic laws and bicycle regulations as a biker.

Q7. Do cyclists have to stop at red light India?

Cycles must wait when the traffic signal is red, just like all other vehicles. On the other hand, you will be a pedestrian and need to abide by pedestrian laws if you walk your bike rather than ride. Thus, you may walk your bike while traffic lights are red and pedestrian traffic signals are green.

Concluding Remarks on Can a Cyclist Run a Red Light in India

What would you say, therefore, to someone who asks you if a cyclist in India is allowed to run a red light? The answer is “no,”. Because the Motor Vehicle Act of India defines a bicycle as a vehicle. As with drivers of motor vehicles, they are also prohibited from running red lights in India.

A cyclist should be aware of and abide by the fundamental traffic laws, which I have already discussed. Running a red light in India is extremely dangerous for both you and other people, therefore if you’re a beginner rider, avoid doing so at all costs.

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