UPD season 2019-2020

There not any big changes from season 2018-2019, but it’s very important to know:

  1. Helmet is necessary not only for rider, passenger also must be in helmet.
  2. Like in many countries in India also become popular an app for ‘informers’. If you are driving without helmet some people can take a picture and send it to this app. In this case ‘informer’ will get some points, which possible to transform in rupees later and owner of scooter/bike will get official fine from traffic police. It can be more problems for owner if vehicle number plate is not yellow. Because yellow number plate vehicles for rent and white number plates for private, but illegally rented out.

And actually to be in helmet much more comfortable, because you can protect your face and eyes from wind, sand, dust, insects and small stones from trucks.

If you confuse about how to keep safe helmet on parking, I can recommend you to use bike lock. It’s a really ‘must have’ stuff.

3. From 2019 it’s a new beautiful bridge in Panaji (Panjim). It calls Mandovi bridge and now it’s a some trap for bike riders in that area. There no any good visible road sign, but Mandovi bridge is only for four wheelers vehicles. Police controlling and fines bike riders who had no idea or forgot about old road and bridge. So be careful! Location of the Panjim Mandovi Bridge

Key points are the same:

– To be polite and persistent while talking to traffic police.

– Not drunk while riding.

– Wear a helmet for your safety.

– To have a copy if international driving license. Exactly copy is the best way. It’s better to keep original license in the safe place and to drive only with copy.

It was some situations when police taking original license, not giving back and asking more money. If traffic police asking you why you have only copy, the best answer is: ‘I don’t want to lose original document, that’s why I took copy’.

  • When police stop you, watch out of your bike key. Better to take it out and to put in pocket.
  • Always remember that traffic police on the roads are for safeness. If you did everything right, so you don’t need to pay anything. If you see that police forgot about their mission, you can remind them, but in polite form.
  • Sometimes Indian traffic police are too much artistic. They can show that they so much serious, stern and angry. If you will show them that you do not afraid and do not follow their game, they will become normal people.
  • Do not bargain and do not search for your purse. Just tell honestly: ‘I haven’t money for you’. Of course you can have money actually, but for your needs, not for police.
  • If you forgot your license you can pay 100-200 rupees, no more. Official fine is 450 rupees.

If you don’t want to pay big money, which police usually asking from the start of conversation, you just can call me. If I am near I can come to bargain for you. You just can pay to me the same price which I will make for you. But this offer only for not drunk people!

Original article is still relevant:

We drive more than 20 thousands km on Indian roads. But we never pay any one rupee to police, only two times I bought one liter bottle of water for them. I’ve never ride away, always stop, usually talk no more than 2-5 minutes.

In the end of this article I will tell you some much more interesting stories. By the way after Russian police, Indian police is so nice and friendly. It’s very rare to meet so much angry and stern policemen.

If you wear helmet, not making problems for other drivers, not drunk, have copy of international driving license and talking polite you will have no any problems.
When are you parking in some towns, check situation, sometimes better to ask someone where you can park, because if it’s not right place, police can evacuate your bike or to block the wheel.

On Siolim bridge police usually checking speed with radar speed camera. So better to follow the rule and to drive not faster than 40 km.

Traffic police on the roads are for safeness and usually conversation with them can be very positive if you are doing everything right. If you do not understand feel free to tell: ‘Sorry, I don’t understand’ and ‘Repeat please’.

Normal script of conversation with traffic police:

  1. If police trying to stop you, just stop and keep calm. Do not drive away! If you don’t stop they can use bamboo sticks! It calls ‘bamboo massage’ and usually Asia police use it for hooligans. But not only! They can follow you by bikes and it can be very bad end.
  2. Better to say ‘Hello, sir’ instead just ‘Hi’ or ‘Hello’. It’s more polite and best start.
  3. Take key and put in pocket. Sometimes police can take your keys very fast and then you in not good situation. Better way to keep license inside scooter. So when you stop, take key out and open scooter to take a license. In this case key with you.
  4. Show copy of international driving license. How it works I wrote before. If police asking original document, you can just tell: ‘Another policeman told me to use copy for saving original at home’.
copy of international driving license
An example of copy

Usually after all those steps police will wish you to have a good way!

But it can be more questions:

– Where is original driving license? (read what to say up).

– Where is insurance for scooter?
Insurance must be inside, usually owner of scooter have to care about it. When you rent scooter always check insurance.

– Who is owner of this bike?

Yellow number plate vehicles are for renting, white number plate for private and can not be rented. If you are driving to another state on scooter with yellow number plate it can be problems with police, because scooters for rent only in one state.

So if you have white number plate scooter you have to tell, that scooter is from your friend and you just took it for one day. Sometimes police can ask owner’s phone number. It’s not a problem, local people know what to say to police. But if anyone telling you to pay some money, always remember ‘I haven’t money for you’. It’s like a mantra .

Never give money to police just to avoid any conversation. Otherwise it will become a tradition, that white people always have to give money.

Sometimes it’s a night checking in Goa. Police can stop you and ask to open bike for checking, or to show your bag. It’s not normal in Russia or in Europe, one person can not ask to check anything, they need to invite witnesses.

But Goa police have their own way. If somewhere night party they can stay near and to check everyone, they suspect everyone and always watching your reaction.
Just as usually keep calm, if any strange situation don’t pay more than 500 rupees and never show that you have a lot of money with you.

It was situation when some company was in night club and show that they have few hundred dollars with them. On the way back police check them and ‘found’ some tablet in purse. Guys get confused and afraid and police took all their dollars.

After 3 months riding on Goa roads, when police stop me I usually started to talk from removing mask from my face and a question: ‘Hello sir! Do you remember me?’
Usual answer was ‘Go’ .

Some stories:
I am a driving instructor in Goa and one time we ride with my student. She was riding, I been passenger. We both was in helmets but she hadn’t driving license. Police stop us and I told: ‘Hello sir’. Policeman asked license and I gave mine. He told that he need license from driver not from passenger. I answered: ‘Take mine, I am also on this scooter’. By the way key I already took out. Policeman wrote 900 on paper for student and 600 for me. My answer:

– We haven’t money for you, but I can give banana.

– Banana?!

– Yes, you can eat it, it’s very tasty.

– No.

Policeman started to look on the road to another drivers and show to us only 600 on paper.

– Sorry, I have no money for you. We were driving slowly and not dangerous, we both in helmets.

Policeman already stopped another bike and I took out bananas from scooter. While policeman talk with another driver I came to him with bananas. He didn’t take it. I understood that he already tired from me .

After sometime he came back and wrote 300.

  • I have no money for you, Russian people never stop for you because you ask money for nothing!

He thought little bit and told us ‘go’.

Another story.
I drove at night with my wife to airport. We followed bus with my mother. On the road after Panaji police stop us. Policeman checked my license, asked who is owner of bike and where we are going. Then he asked documents for bike. I gave all documents, he started to read and to ask something what I can’t understand.
– Documents is good, many another policemen check it before and everything was ok.
He asked again something and acting like there some problems with documents.
– Please write name of document which you need, and I will tell to owner, so he will put it in scooter for the next time.

For policeman it was difficult to do and he told me:
– You need to park scooter here and to go by taxi, if you continue driving it will be a crime.
– No crime! We just going to airport to say good bye to my mother, she goes there by bus now.

For few minutes we just repeat all this dialog to each other, I been calm and persistent. Finally he told: ‘Go, go’ 
So it was around 5 minutes and no anyone rupee spent.

And one more story.

I drove at night. Police stopped me and started to check my pockets!
I was in big surprise. It was pockets belt on me and there was so many different things inside, but nothing bad. So it very interesting game started, I told him big story about every subject.
When he found small plastic ziplock bag he become so excited, he thought he found something. But there was just small USB flesh.
– Or look here, it’s balm for lips, look, I put it on lips when I under the sun! Wait wait, here some ziplock bag with white, and inside something black. It’s a photo of my tooth which I remove yesterday.
So after short time and to many of my stories policeman was so tired and just told me ‘Go’ even he didn’t check all my pockets. He just understood that he will not get any money from me.

So what I would like to say. Keep calm guys, drive carefully, be polite and love India. Then India will love you back.

Good luck on the roads and see you there!

Feel free to ask me any question about driving or license in the form down or in WhatsApp +79525151053. Also I can teach driving of scooter.

Alexey Kislin, August 2018. Interpreter @olgasoulphoto

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