Is it worth renting a bike to travel in India?

HLet's start with the fact that India is a federal parliamentary republic. This means that the entire country is divided into 28 states and seven territories (six union and one national capital). Moreover, the states and territories are divided into districts, of which there are more than 640. Why is this important and what does it have to do with renting a bike?

One state, one territory - its own rules

And this is important because each state, and often territory, operate on the basis of different rules for issuing driver's licenses. The good news is that the legality of driving tests that were passed in one state extends to all the others.

The rules for allowing students to take exams, or the form of the exams, vary slightly by region of the country, but you can easily generalize this whole set of rules to get some idea of what Indians have to do to drive, and more on that below.

To understand how different we and Indians are, you need to be on the road in India. Goa is said to be the most Europeanized state India. Well, as they say "Welcome"!

Features of traffic on the streets of India

Right off the bat: the movement is of course left-handed, that is, people look at the space around them differently, they perform purely mechanically other movements, which means they see themselves in this world differently than we are used to.

It is interesting why, but the fact is that some people very quickly get used to such a “reversal of polarities”. Others, on the contrary, get used to the left-hand traffic is very difficult. Perhaps this is due to the individual psychological characteristics of a person.

road of india
The traffic is really heavy and the sidewalks are almost non-existent.

Sometimes we say that the situation on our roads is a situation peculiar to a third world country. But, in India, we are really dealing with realities that are far from what we see every day. The roads of India, like snakes, meander and wind, finding the right address is not easy, but getting somewhere is a whole adventure.

Three important points in traffic on the streets of India:

  • First, and above all, most often the roads are in a terrible state, and it happens that the main route is an ordinary one-lane road so narrow that it barely fits two cars.
  • Second, most often there are no sidewalks. People go about their business along the dirty beaten side of the road, winding between parked mopeds, shops and stalls. Now it is clear why in India (and in Asia in general) there is a Buddhist rule - do not point your feet at a person. Just these feet, but what are the feet - legs after a hike, knee-deep in the dust of the road.
  • Third, everyone goes the way they want, turn where they need, not paying attention to the rules of the road. The markings are ignored by both drivers and pedestrians, but no one really cares about this. The rules of the road seem to exist, but no one takes them seriously.

It is interesting that when we went to Panaji, the capital of the state of Goa, the driver took an assistant with him - a special person who, in the event of a traffic jam or a problem on the road, comes out and “resolves” the situation.

Moped, he is a bike on the roads of India

The main vehicle in India is a bike: moped, scooter, motorcycle. A bike for most Indians is a friend and a workhorse. Moped riders often act like pedestrians on the road, stopping where they have to and turning where they can't. The female passengers sit sideways on the bikes, risking the hem of their sari.

bike in india
Moped, he is a bike - the main means of transportation in India

And there is no need to flatter yourself with illusions, they say, “they have almost no accidents there, not like ours.” In India and Goa in particular, accidents are common and frequent. In this case, mainly pedestrians and mopeds suffer. There are a lot of cars with minor damage - it is difficult to pass on narrow winding roads.

Who can you meet on the road? Anything from pedestrians and crazy motorcyclists, rickshaws and cars, to slow moving cows and oxen, all accompanied by a cacophony of screams and horns because that's the only way to get attention.

Speaking of cows. All drivers should proceed from the safety and comfort of these animals, which means that a cow on the road is almost like a tram in St. Petersburg, only with great advantages.

Sacred cows on the streets of Indian cities are absolutely normal

A family of six on a scooter? This is normal in India. A bus parked in the middle of the road? There is nothing surprising. In a word, if you are only really confident in your driving skills and have sufficient experience in driving a bike in non-standard Asian conditions, then go ahead!

The main thing to know from the rules of Indian traffic is the rule of law faster, bigger and stronger. Everything else is meaningless...

Video from Travel Guide about the problems of garbage and dirt in India

Wait a minute, don't rush! Be sure to watch a short video from, which will reveal to you the situation with the problem of garbage, dirt and hygiene in India. Perhaps it will make you look at the need to respect nature from a new perspective.

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