The findings of a recent survey of around 1,500 two-wheeler riders from across 10 key Indian cities have revealed a shocking fact: 78% of them did not recognise even 50% of the road signs! Clearly, while India is the world’s biggest two-wheeler market, road sign literacy in the nation remains pathetically low.
The consumer study, titled ‘Honda Road Sign IQ Survey’ was conducted by Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India (HMSI) during the National Road Safety Week earlier this month to understand the level of awareness of road safety signs and behaviour of two-wheeler riders in India, the world’s biggest two-wheeler market.
Key findings of the survey
- Around 78 percent of Indian two-wheeler riders cannot recognise even 50 percent of the road signs.
- Of the 10 cities, Mumbai is the most aware city with 79 percent two-wheeler riders able to correctly identify half of the road safety signs, followed by Pune (63 percent) and Bengaluru (41 percent).
- There is a need for greater education within the 3Es of road safety (Enforcement, Engineering & Education) as nearly 80 percent of Indian two-wheeler riders are still unaware about the difference between cautionary and mandatory road signs.
- Indian women are more road-sign literate than their male counterparts. Nationally, 26 percent of women interviewed recognised half the road signs, while the corresponding figure for men was 21 percent.
- Twenty to 24-year olds are most aware of the national road signs (31 percent are aware of half the signs) while only 18 percent of the respondents in the 25 to 44 years age bracket could identify half the road signs; 30 percent of those over 45 of years could also identify half the signs.
Safety awareness is growing, albeit slowly
The good news that emanates from the survey is that two-wheeler riders are becoming aware of road safety, albeit many have accident-inviting habits.
The majority of the riders (63 percent) interviewed said that they don a helmet for their own safety. The two other biggest motivators for Indian riders to wear a helmet are enforcement by state authorities (16 percent admitted they wear a helmet to avoid fines) and family insistence (due to family pressure another 16 percent wear a helmet).
Another revelation is that most Indian riders understand the importance of a helmet but only when they themselves ride a two-wheeler. A good 55 percent of riders risk their lives by not wearing a helmet when they are riding pillion. While 51 percent of the riders interviewed said they have neither been fined nor did they jumped a red light in 2016, risky riding still continues as 30 percent riders admitted to jumping red lights about a couple of times a week.
Need to drive further awareness
Elaborating on the survey findings, Yadvinder Singh Guleria, senior vice-president (Sales and Marketing), HMSI, said, “Two-wheelers account for the highest fatalities (31.5 percent) due to road accidents in the country. With a new two-wheeler coming on Indian roads every two seconds, ‘Safety for Everyone’ is Honda’s priority as a responsible corporate. The Honda Road Sign IQ survey re-affirms that there is an urgent need to invest in behavioural change in the Indian mindset through road safety education. We have already educated over a million people on road safety in India at Honda’s 11 adopted traffic parks across India. A sizable 38 percent of these are children as Honda aims to mould youth of today into responsible road users of tomorrow.”
In the National Road Safety Week, Honda’s nationwide campaign saw it engage over 24,000 people in 250 cities across India, assisted by other stakeholders including defence personnel, corporates, schools, State police departments and NGOs. These cities went beyond the metros, from Coimbatore (Tamil Nadu), Bhuj (Gujarat) and Barwani (Madhya Pradesh) to Dhamtari (Chhattisgarh), Dhule (Maharashtra) to Guwahati (Assam), Srinagar (Jammu & Kashmir) to Nagarcoil (Tamil Nadu).
Honda 2Wheelers has adopted 11 traffic training parks across India (Chandigarh, Ludhiana, Jaipur, Delhi, Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Yeola (Nashik), Hyderabad, Indore and Coimbatore. During the week, Honda educated close to 6,500 individuals at its traffic parks.