How Many People are on this Motorcycle?

Posted on July 24, 2008
Filed Under >Adil Najam, Photo of the Day, Society
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Adil Najam

Pictures of overloaded vehicles are nothing special. Not in Pakistan. And our fascinations for rickshaws (here, here, here, here, here, here) is also well known. So, why yet another rickshaw picture?

Pakistan rickshaw motorcycle overloading

Unless I have it terribly wrong, what we have here is really an ordinary motorcycle – probably not 7occ, maybe more like 140cc (what do you think, Owais?) – that has been retrofitted to become a people-carrier. All very good till here.

But the question is, how many people are riding on this, well, motorcycle? And did they just break any records without even knowing about it?

By my count, there are at least 9 people on this (3 in the front, four in the back, at least 2 hanging), and maybe as many as 12!

Even by Pakistani standards, that is impressive (and really really dangerous!).

Has anyone here seen worse? Or better? [Depending on what you consider worse, or better!]

40 Comments on “How Many People are on this Motorcycle?”

  1. Asma says:
    July 24th, 2008 12:35 am

    Dil barra hay naa :)

  2. ASAD says:
    July 24th, 2008 2:27 am

    I think it has to be more than 9. Because we cannot see how many are standing on the other side (at the back) and for balance it has to be as many as on this side.
    So, I would say it is closer to around 11 people, maybe 12.

  3. Rafay Kashmiri says:
    July 24th, 2008 3:24 am

    @ atleast eleven

  4. Manzoor says:
    July 24th, 2008 4:40 am

    Converted rickshaws ply roads of inner Kemari area in Karachi and are the worst types of public transport.

  5. Shazia R. Hussain says:
    July 24th, 2008 5:48 am

    This motorcycle turned rickshaw has a name of its own. Its called Qingqi, pronounced “chingchee”. In Lahore, these are just as common as rickshaws but with a lot more room and less fare and you can see entire families commuting in these qingqis. These are extremely dangerous as far as balance goes. My brother in law is a doctor who used to work in the emergency room. He told me that most road accidents involve these qingqis because they overturn very easily, especially while turning speedily. Most people who get killed in road accidents in Lahore are qingqi riders.

  6. ahsan says:
    July 24th, 2008 7:11 am

    In Lahore, one of the common names for “chingchee” is ” Chaand Gari”. The hot make for a chand gari is a two stroke 150 cc Suzuki . A closer look at the “chand gari ” in the picture reveals that it has two rows in the front. (Its a long body model). Observe the man sitting behind the ” maulvi sahib”. I doubt maulvi sahib will dare the unislamic act of sitting in a namahram lap(goade). One can see the support legs of the front seat on which maulvi sahib is sitting ( extreme left). And behind him , you can see the legs of another person sitting on the second front “row”. The driver is on the motor bike seat and yet another man is sitting behind the driver. This makes it at least 6 in the front or may be 7. The 2 hanging on the left side means that there is no room to hang on the other side. That makes it 4 persons hanging. HOw many are sitting on the back seat(s) is anyones guess.

  7. iceCube says:
    July 24th, 2008 8:05 am

    My teacher once said he’d seen people driving with a cigarette in one hand and a mobile phone in the other!

    July 24th, 2008 9:13 am

    Now in Karachi they started chinqchi ,and its written in english behind it .Some friends from lahore told me its from there and very common in lahore.I dont think there is any use of these or rikshas in Karachi as roads are broad and with high speed traffic.Accidents are more common and they are really fatal,i survived one and i was lucky and that was the last day i used riksha.RTAs (Road traffic accidents)are very high due to rikshas and bikes in Karachi i dont know other cities but i think its same there too as i worked in ER of Jinnah Hosp during my Internship and highest number of casualties are by them.I believe there should be ban by government on such mobiles or restriction to limited areas where they are more useful.I am not against chinqchi, i am in favour of passengers safety and thats more important and fares are more or same as taxi.

  9. ahsan says:
    July 24th, 2008 9:22 am

    Chingchees are originally from Bhawalpur where they were introduced to replace the manual-driven cycle rickshaws . The man driven rickshaws can now only be seen in Kalabagh/Mianwali .

  10. Rahul Biswas says:
    July 24th, 2008 9:36 am

    This is a problem as a whole, in Indian subcontinent. Even in India and Bangladesh we see as many as ten people sharing a ride. Obviously this is a very dangerous practice.

  11. PMA says:
    July 24th, 2008 10:32 am

    There is nothing amusing about this or many other pictures like this we have seen many times before. What this really is a failure of successive Pakistani governments to provide decent public transportation. And here we are discussing the origin and the name of this ‘vehicle’!!!

  12. Ibrahim says:
    July 24th, 2008 10:33 am

    Amazing. See what else you can do with a chinqchi… Very dangerous indeed.

  13. Junaid says:
    July 24th, 2008 11:11 am

    Dangerous? This is the only way of transportation for them. I was in interior Sindh 2 weeks back (Thata and neighboring towns) and this was a very common site. It first this seems crazy. But it’s no crazier then us driving 8 seater SUV with 1 passenger. Yes, these rickshaws are dangerous but not stupid. In fact, these drivers are doing service to the community and we should figure out a way to optimize their ride capacity. Well here is challenge, let’s take a 70cc motor-bike (yes, most are 70cc) and come-up with a few design that these drivers/owners can use to optimize the ride with possible safety.

  14. Nadir says:
    July 24th, 2008 1:13 pm

    Is it me who can’t see the image?

  15. A. Jadoon says:
    July 24th, 2008 1:24 pm

    I think the right spelling is Qingqi and it is the name of a Chinese company which has now taken a Pakistani flavor because of all of these reformulated motorbikes.

    Usually they are slightly different. The ones I have seen are usually yellow and the word Qingqi is written very boldly on them.

    This does look more like a make-do rickshaw but with a motorbike rather than a scooter at the front.

  16. A. Jadoon says:
    July 24th, 2008 1:25 pm

    Also, I wonder if that second row is really parallel to the first. Maybe it is not and the guy is just sitting sideways and the woman also sideways but facing the other way. I am just not sure.

    By the way, I can see the picture fine.

  17. A. Jadoon says:
    July 24th, 2008 1:27 pm

    Sorry for so many comments, but I will be even more worried if two people were NOT hanging on the other side too (the one not in the picture). Because then it would be REALLY unstable and would flip over.

  18. July 24th, 2008 2:17 pm

    Not only bikes and Rikshaws! … even I have seen 7 people in a small Suzuki FX car … can you imagine?

  19. Riaz Haq says:
    July 24th, 2008 3:29 pm

    This is a reminder to Pakistan’s “civil society” with its need for “self-actualization” as to how real Pakistanis live. It is an example of the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs in action, where safety takes a backseat to the need to travel to satisfy hunger. It also reminds me of an ugly thing called “jugad” in democratic India which carries more people and is probably even more unsafe than this colorful contraption.

  20. July 24th, 2008 4:33 pm

    Long time readers (and those who followed the links in the post) would recall that I am actually quite fascinated by the Qingqi idea; indeed we did a post on the subject quite early on.

    Following that post (I should have done a post on that too) I actually got to not only ride, but even try to drive a Qingqi one time; I was not very good at it ;-)

    Anyhow, all this to say that I understand the engineering mechanics as well as of social dynamics that motivate the “Qingqi boom” in Pakistan – By the way, you do see them in the larger cities (Lahore etc.) but they really rule small-town Pakistan, especially in the Punjab medium and small towns. I think part of their success in smaller towns and cities is that these places do not have enough traffic to support regular “van/wagon” routes but there is a need for public transportation larger than the individual rickshaw or taxi. In some ways, I think, the Qingqi came to fill in for what used to be the communal Tonga.

    Anyhow, this seems to be turning into a post in itself, so let me stop. The point merely was that I did not mention the Qingqi in the post because (a) I was not sure if this was a Qingqi since in color and style it did not look like the ones I was familiar with and (b) the real point, to me, was about how many people are actually riding what is a very small engine motorcycle.

  21. Owais Mughal says:
    July 24th, 2008 5:07 pm

    This definitely does not look like 70cc engine. More like 125 CC. So much weight must be a drag on this type of motocycle engine. I bet it must be getting its ring-pistons changed every few months.

  22. MQ says:
    July 24th, 2008 9:04 pm

    There are interesting color matches that make this picture attractive: The blue baseball cap of the bearded passenger with the blue color of the body of the rikshaw; the yellow dupatta of one of the two girls matches with the triangular patch on the front of the rikshaw and the red in the dupatta of the second girl matches with the flower work on the windshield and that of the stuff on the roof rack. Coincidence?

  23. Eidee Man says:
    July 24th, 2008 11:10 pm

    Look at the men riding comfortably (relatively) in the front while women are hanging on for dear life.

  24. Deeda-i-Beena says:
    July 24th, 2008 11:12 pm

    QINGQI is of course the Chinese manufacturer of an inexpensive motorised Rickshaw system that has become popular in the rural and poorer urban areas of Pakistan.

    It provides a faster, affordable, long-distance transportation for the poor-THE AWAM- who like all of us, also need to move from point A to B but lack the resources to possess their own means of transportation. Dangerous as it obviously is, but their desire to make a living and support their families transcends all the incumbent risks.
    BELIEVE IT OR NOT there was a time not too long ago, when there was a functioning urban Omnibus and an efficient Railway system. The Bureaucracy and the Civilian and the Defence establishments had to destroy them sytematically so that they can be provided with official cars for the personal use by the officer and his family with official petrol and driver.The demise of the Railway system allowed them to be able to travel by air.
    On a related matter, the excellent system of Guest and Rest Houses scattered all over the country was allowed to degenerate so that the Baboos could stay in fancy Hotels and also collect Fat TAs / DAs.

    Provide the AWAM with some alternatives and then let us TALK of the OTHER important issues so dear to us.

  25. Shazia R. Hussain says:
    July 25th, 2008 1:40 am


    No, you’re not the only one. I never had any problems with this blog while I was in the U.S but its been a pain since I moved back home. The images never show up. I have to refresh the page several times and then once in a while, the images do show up. Also, the spam filter keeps telling me that 2+3 does not equal 5 when I’m trying to submit a comment. This is one more “saza” for me for committing the crime of moving back to Pakistan, forget about loadshedding, inflation etc.

    All I can say is “Ik sitam aur meri jaan, abhi jaan baqi hai”

  26. Qudoos says:
    July 25th, 2008 1:43 am

    I would not be surprised if one of these things was carrying as many as 15 people.

  27. Amazed says:
    July 25th, 2008 2:10 am

    Do they drive these things at night also?

    I am looking at the little lights in the front and wonder just what good they could do?

  28. July 25th, 2008 6:54 am

    Shazia it is not just you. I see the pictures one day later and I am in US. Also either the Spam Protector does not know math or I am loosing it but it rejected my first ever comments on my alma mater CCH. This is the kind of stuff that makes you throw up both hands and shout, “I am never writing again on this broken site”.

  29. Eidee Man says:
    July 25th, 2008 8:02 am

    “This is one more

  30. Franz says:
    July 26th, 2008 12:08 am

    i was in a piaggio rickshaw in gurgaon (delhi) with four hanging off the back, three next to me, four facing me, two next to the driver and one hanging out the front side (16).. even the delhiites thought that was funny.

  31. July 26th, 2008 7:57 am

    I was reminded of, a similar remodelled junks of harley davidsons of worldwar2 or 3, i donot know which used to ply between Old delhi’s chandini chowk to connaught circus and used to be called PHUT-PHUT. Recently they vanished due to bank loans for better vehicles.They also used to carry a lot but later restricted to 12.

  32. amina from the north says:
    July 27th, 2008 6:03 pm

    i really like this pic, because they way the woman are holding themself…… makes me feel that they have freedom…….. and they are ready to face any Challenge…………….it reminds me of me. when we used to sit on the truckter in hunza gilgit.

  33. amina from the north says:
    July 27th, 2008 6:03 pm

    i really like this pic, because they way the woman are holding themself…… makes me feel that they have freedom…….. and they are ready to face any Challenge…………….it reminds me of me. when we used to sit on the truckter in hunza gilgit. and it is funnnnnnnnnnnnn

  34. September 19th, 2008 12:44 am

    I have seen a husband and wife with four grown up children on an ordinary motorcycle. I mean it was not fitted to make sitting arrangement.

    I have seen one man, two women sitting on the bike in Pakistani style and two children on a motor cycle.

  35. Jamshed Ishtiaq says:
    April 9th, 2009 4:41 pm

    Its not dat surprising, it’s routine life style in da northern areas of pakistan. But its good pic to give people some sorta enjoyment for those who have not seen dis kinda snaps.

  36. Zoufishan says:
    April 9th, 2009 4:57 pm

    What can I say…Us Pakistaniz like living on the edge…or in this case hanging of the edge!!
    This is so dangerous…The drivers of these vehicles are normally CrAzY..they suffer from a severe case of road rage!!

  37. May 15th, 2009 5:07 am

    hello everyone!
    i live in AUSTRALIA.I love pakistan and i used to travel on this kind of rickshaws.This rickshaws carries 16+ people.I love MALKI ,GUJRAT.NEAR AWAN SHARIF, BARNALA, AAHI ETC.

  38. Sami says:
    August 5th, 2009 6:18 pm

    I like the heart shaped wind screen,and the color combination is just fantastic and refreshing.Living and hanging on the edge is! what life is about in Pakistan.

  39. Anas Fareedi says:
    February 4th, 2010 4:39 pm

    Instead of using delapidated machines and hanging like a Langur monkey fashion, why not design our own transportation vehicles. In the city of Gujrat, there exists a lot of fan and other electrical components factories, and in the Darre Adam Khel region, small factories manufacture all type of guns and ammunition.
    Since Karachi, Lahore, Multan, and Wazirabad are all big manufacturing hubs, why can’t we uniquely design our own transportation vehicles, such as the rikshaws we have imported from China.

  40. July 20th, 2011 6:52 pm

    Hello everyone how r u?there r about 15 people in this rickshaws faraz.

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