Okhla’s e-rickshaws: Are they menace or lifeline?

Okhla’s e-rickshaws: Are they menace or lifeline?

Without doubt, e-rickshaws are a boon for short route travelers while it is bane on the roads, particularly in Jamia Nagar area where one can find e-rickshaws mushrooming.  For residents it is a menace. But once cannot ignore the fact that since its arrival, the battery-powered non-polluting vehicle has enabled many hand-to-mouth lead a better life in the locality.

It is another story that irresponsible driving of amateur drivers and their rush to pick up residents has made e-rickshaw drivers unpopular among many residents.

Since its arrival on the scene in Okhla, traveling has become easy in the sense that it can take you to even narrow streets, said a resident Taj, adding that however, it is also a nuisance on the road as the number has spiraled over years.

E-rickshaws have become a ubiquitous sight across Jamia Nagar, often seen rushing to pick up passengers, caring little about traffic rules and others on the roads. It is this that at times leads to road accidents. Though there is no data available on how many residents have been injured in collision with e-rickshaws, many people do share stories of being hit by this vehicle.

Recounting an old incident, a resident said how she once got hurt when a car collided with an e-rickshaw on a sharp turn on the way to Noor Nagar from Tikona Park. The e-rickshaw on which she was travelling on overturned and she fell to the ground bleeding, she said.

Fortunately, she said she was lucky to get the medical aid immediately. There are many incidents which go unreported.

Some residents said travelling on e-rickshaw is risky as it overturns. PhD student, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Jamia Millia Islamia, Hasan Zakir Jafri, said there is balancing problem in these vehicles.

Jafri said that is one of the main reasons for e-rickshaws getting overturned on slight turns because of their Centre of Gravity (CG) lying above the axle, which is a bad design as per the standards. Ideally, it should be below the axle which makes the vehicle more stable, he said.

Besides, the big issue worrying the residents is how to minimise chances of getting hurt with e-rickshaws. “The drivers should follow proper guidelines while embarking and disembarking passengers which would surely help in reducing the accidents to a large extent,” said one resident.

(Engineer Wasiul Hasan Rizvi, formerly Lecturer, Department of Industrial Engineering, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia contributed to this report)