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How pollution and smog can affect riding a two-wheeler

Published on December 23, 2019. EST READ TIME: 5 MIN

The rising pollution levels in Delhi are now an issue known to everyone. It took center stage post-Diwali celebrations when the air quality of the capital city plummeted to dangerous levels. This was despite the usage of green firecrackers for Diwali, which causes 30% less pollution than standard firecrackers.

The increasing levels of PM2.5 is a serious concern for everyone who spends any time in Delhi. PM2.5 refers to particulate matter with a diameter of fewer than 2.5 microns. These smaller particles have the capability of entering deep into the lungs and causing impairment.

Current Pollution levels

While the pollution levels in the city have been improving since they skyrocketed during Diwali, the new numbers are no cause for joy. The day after Diwali saw the Air Quality Index in certain regions reaching 999, which indicates severe plus emergency category. There has been a significant reduction in the AQI level since then but it is still between poor and very poor.

Odd-Even Rule

In a bid to cut down on the pollution levels, the Delhi government had to reintroduce the odd-even rule after a gap of nearly three years. The rule allows for vehicles with even registration numbers to ply on the even days and vehicle with odd registration numbers to ply on odd days.

Impact on Two-wheelers

One demographic that is impacted heavily by pollution are two-wheeler riders. Being exposed to high pollutions levels constantly can have a detrimental effect on bike riders. Not only are commuters constantly breathing in extremely polluted air, the dipping Air Quality Index levels also cause a layer of haze that reduces visibility significantly. Most parts of Delhi were covered in haze post-Diwali and such conditions are unsafe for driving or riding.

Being exposed to such severe levels of pollution can have a severe impact on the health of bike riders as well. For starters, respiratory problems are one of the most common outcomes of air pollution. When exposed to such levels, bikers might get frequent headaches, anxiety and even feel exhausted. It also causes irritation in the eyes, throat, and nose. Some of the toxic chemicals in the air can settle into water bodies and even plants. The food and water we consume can also become dangerous due to this.

India is no stranger to road accidents and driving around in smog doesn’t help the cause either. While it is difficult to peg exactly how many accidents happen due to smog, there are some that we must not forget. The 24 vehicle pile-up on Yamuna Expressway in 2017 and another one earlier this year, at Kanjhawala-Bawana road on outer Delhi, are stark reminders of the safety issues that smog brings with it.

Ideally, you like to stay back home in such conditions, rather than riding across the city. However, if you must go out, there is only one way to counter such instances, which is a comprehensive bike insurance policy. While the policy cannot protect you from the effects of smog, it can protect you in case of an accident.  

In event of an accident which results in damage to third party property or they suffer any bodily injury, you might be liable to pay the claim. You can avoid paying from your own pocket by buying Third Party plan. It is also mandatory under the Motor Vehicles Act 1988 and the recently enacted Motor Vehicle Amendment Act 2019, it is mandatory for all the motorists to have a valid motor insurance.

Though the Delhi government is trying different ways, there isn’t any immediate solution to the pollution woes. This is why it is advisable that you take steps to protect yourself as well as possible. A mask to ease your breathing and suitable bike insurance for your ride will aid you in preparing better for such occurrences. 

Disclaimer: The above information is for illustrative purpose only. For more details, please refer to policy wordings and prospectus before concluding the sales.

S. Gopalakrishnan | Motor Insurance Expert | 40+ years of experience in insurance industry

A veteran in insurance industry. S. Gopalakrishnan is a name to reckon with in the field of reinsurance, he has headed the Reinsurance department and has rich experience in other fields of motor insurance. He loves to share his opinion on latest topics in the insurance industry and how he can help people in safeguarding their assets using insurance products.

Mr.S. Gopalakrishnan recommends "HDFC ERGO for your vehicle insurance needs, it has always put customer’s interest at the forefront, with round the clock assistance to deal with emergency breakdown issues and hassle free claims process. You can be assured of complete and reliable guidance through the whole process." 


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