Vroom….and she is zigzagging through traffic and narrow streets. No, we are not talking about a 20-year-old girl from an affluent class, in fact,she is a middle-class woman, above 40, who is riding on a motorbike to enjoy the new-found feeling of happiness and peace.
Seeing a woman revving up her motorcycle, wearing a leather jacket and gloves before going off on a ride to a far-flung area might seem like a plot of Hindi film. But it is a reality now, as Indian women are breaking gender stereotypes and goingfor a ride on the open roads.
Yes, it comes as a pleasant surprise to people living in a country like India, wherethe problem of gender inequality has beenrampant in society.
Gone are the days when motorcycles were boys’ toys only. Step aside boys, ladies are on the wheels now, adding to the community of the nation’s thriving motorcycle communities. Over the last few years, the number of women riding motorbikes,rather than riding pillion, to visit far-flung places has been on the rise. And it’s not only about riding a bike as from changing tyres, fixing clutches to doing stunts, but these women arealso competing with their male counterparts on all other levels.
The trend of women’s bike groups has been catching on. For instance, over the last three years, Pune has witnessed a 60% rise in the use of gear bikes by women. The rise of women, in a sport which wastraditionally associated with macho men, has received acclaims from all sections of the society.
The sight of a female riding a motorcycle is not as common in India as it should be, however, these women are well-prepared to manoeuvretheir way around the patriarchy with sheer confidence and refusing to be cowed by the ubiquitous narrative that says, “females should never step out alone on roads.”
In truth, riding a motorcycle is not only about mobility, but it also offers a sense of freedom unlike any other mode of travel, without depending on anyone else. Indeed, it’s a fabulous feeling—hair flying in the wind, whizzing down the road, just the feeling of happiness, the sense of achievement and yes, the intoxication of speed.
This path is not easy…
Though some women have found the courage to follow their passion of biking, most girls have dropped the idea because of lack of support and mentorship. Due to the fear of mockery, many parents have discouraged their daughters from taking the wheel.
Now, to spread awareness, many passionate female bikers have formed biking clubs across the nation with names like Biking Queens, Hop on Gurls, Ladies of Harley, Lady Riders of India, The Bikerni, etc. All female biker gangs are offering a conducive atmosphere for beginners where they can learn to ride without being judged.
Here are some of the safety tips given by these women bike groups:
- Choose your clothes and attire carefully
- Buy a good helmet with a plastic face shield to protect your eyes from dust, wind, insects, etc.
- During the long journey, stop at family restaurants only. Avoid food points serving alcohol and catering to truck drivers
- Don’t engage in conversations with strangers. Even if required, make sure to mention that you are travelling in a group
- Do use Google maps if you are on unknown terrains
- Carry a good quantity of water and snacks to avoid frequent visits to roadside shops
- Be extra vigilant while choosing a hotel room
- Make sure your friends or family back home know about your travel plans
Carry Two-Wheeler Insurance with you
Well, you take all precautions on your trip, accidents do happen. So before going on your next road trip, make sure you have a comprehensive two-wheeler insurance policy with you. Here are some of the benefits which you can get from your bike insurance policy:
- Coverage for loss or damages to your vehicle against natural disasters, like storm, fire, cyclone, etc.
- Coverage for loss or damages to your vehicle against man-made disasters, like theft, riot, burglary, etc.
- Personal accident coverage for the rider of the vehicle while travelling, mounting, or dismounting from the vehicle
In addition to the policy, here are some of the add-ons that can help you during your journey:
- Zero depreciation cover: Even if you have a comprehensive two-wheeler insurance policy, you will not get the entire claim amount as the insurer will deduct the depreciated value from the claim amount. Also, called a nil depreciation cover, this rider settles the entire claim at the time of an accident.
- Roadside Assistance Cover: Imagine, you are riding on a highway or an isolated road, and suddenly, your bike breaks down! With no help, around, either you will make an SOS call to your friends or spend a night on the road. Both the situations are enough to press a panic button. So, it is worthwhile to buy a roadside assistance cover which acts as your saviour during such situations. If your bike runs out of fuel, gets a flat tyre or breaks down due to any mechanical fault, the insurer will arrange for fuel, change the flat tyre or get your motorcycle towed tothe nearest garage. Some insurers also arrange for alternative accommodation.
- Engine Protect: The cost of repairing an engine is quite high, but if you have this rider, you don’t need to worry about costs as the insurer will cover the cost of repairing an engine.
Why should boys have all the fun?
Bikes, indeed have given the Indian woman a sense of dynamism! For Indian woman bikers, taking to the roads offer a sense of freedom and independence. Though they make up for the small percentage of the traffic, those in the saddle are surely trailblazers in a long way. One woman biker on the road can inspire many others, and this chain reaction will lead to freedom and liberation.