Two-wheeler – Ergonomics in India

A two-wheeler is the vehicle of choice for most Indians in their daily commute to work. One major reason for the accidents is the ignorance of proper consideration of ergonomic issues in two-wheeler design. With the exponential growth of the population, the number of two-wheeler users in India is increasing rapidly. This number was reported at around 60 million by 2020. Injuries and accidental deaths due to two-wheeler mishaps are on an upward trend in recent years in comparison to other modes of transportation. The two-wheelers segment with 80% market share, is the leader of the Indian automobile market owing to a growing middle class and a young population. Moreover, increasing interest of the companies in exploring the rural markets further aided the growth of the sector. Among various ergonomic issues, the prevalent postural distress among Indian riders might be an important root-cause for the motorcycling fatigue and two-wheeler accidents. Unfortunately, this may be due to ignorance of the target users’ ergonomics in the two-wheeler design. The solution could provide better comfort at the design process (in conceptual stage) of a two-wheeler to reduce discomfort. Thus, designers/ engineers need to find the comfortable riding posture (CRP) and optimum riding position during the conceptual phase of two-wheeler-design. Moreover, it is worthy to note that various databases on the CRP (based on comfort joint angles), anthropometry, and range of motion for four-wheeler drivers are available internationally. Still, there is no reported similar database for the motorcyclist in the Indian context. Thus, automobile industries need to develop databases on two-wheeler rider’s anthropometry and range of motion since two-wheelers are more widely used for commuting by Indian riders.

Figure 1. Riding posture of users with different anthropometry/ body dimensions

It is expected that the designer’s/ researcher’s findings on rider’s anthropometry, range of motion, CRP and optimum riding position will be immensely useful for automobile industries to design a new or redesigning of existing two-wheelers to ensure better comfort. Design of two-wheelers based on the anthropometric and range of motion data for defining optimal riding position and thereby comfortable riding posture would certainly reduce muscular discomfort/ pain of the motorcyclists.

Arunachalam M., Assistant Professor, Product Design, School of Industrial Design, Unitedworld Institute of Design (UID)

Disclaimer: The opinions / views expressed in this article are solely of the author in his / her individual capacity. They do not purport to reflect the opinions and/or views of the College and/or University or its members.

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