Top court dismisses plea seeking a ban on heavy bikes on motorways

SC was asked to overturn the judgment given by IHC as it makes the relevant road safety laws useless.


A three-judge Supreme Court bench has issued notices to plaintiffs in the case regarding permission to ride heavy bikes on the motorway, the government is of the view that the presence of such vehicles in high-speed lanes could be a danger to public safety.

Notices were issued to a number of plaintiffs by the bench, headed by Justice Mushir Alam on Monday,. This was done so the respondents could explain their opinion on the matter. The case will then be fixed for regular hearing.

The case revolves around a joint appeal filed by the government through the Ministry of Communications and Inspector General of the National Highways and Motorway Police (NHMP) against the verdict delivered by Islamabad High Court (IHC) on 10th December 2018.
In the verdict, the court ordered for Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) to ride motorcycles on the motorway to be improved.

Additional Attorney General Chaudhary Amir Rehman, representing the government, asked the SC to overturn the judgment given by IHC as it then makes the relevant road safety laws useless, allowing even Qingqi motorcycles on the motorway.

After the construction of Islamabad-Lahore Motorway (M-2), the Motorway Police (now the NHMP) was empowered under National Highway Safety Ordinance 2000 (NHSO) to supervise and control traffic and maintain order on national highways.
The use of motorcycles was banned from day one.

This policy was reflected in rule 202 of the Highways and Motorway Code, a government document containing road rules prepared in accordance with the Vienna Convention on Road Traffic 1968.
The only exception to the ban was 500cc motorcycles used by Motorway Police for patrols, but this was discontinued for safety and bikes were replaced by cars.

The appeal before the SC argued that the amount of traffic on the motorway has gone up, and there were only three lanes on each carriageway and no track for motorcycles.
However, the appeal said mixing motorcycles with cars on high-speed roads increases the risk of accidents and fatalities involving motorcycles.

The slightest tumble could lead to low chances of survival for the motorcyclist because of high speed. They’d fall on the road and would not be visible to the oncoming traffic, which would result in the motorcyclist being run over by a car. And if brakes are applied by the driver, there could still be a possibility of a chain accident.

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