Harley Davidson Motorcycle riders in Mumbai, are facing a difficult situation. In spite of wearing the best available protective gear and helmet, cops are fining them because their helmets do not have an ISI mark. ISI marking on helmets means that they are approved by Bureau of Indian Standards and are tested for impact absorption.
Last month, Mr Arup Patnaik, Police Commissioner, Mumbai, issued an order stating that all motorcycle riders need to wear a helmet with ISI marking. Many motorcycle riders in India use cheap helmets which do not have any kind of certification.
What on duty cops are not realizing is that, though Harley Davidson riders are not wearing helmets with ISI certification, their helmets are amongst the safest in the world with certifications from DOT – American Department of Transportation. Helmets with DOT marking are subject to higher standards of testing and have been dropped from a height of 10 feet to study the degree of impact.
Mr Debashish Ghosh, Harley Davidson bike owner, says, “The purpose of the police commissioner’s directive was to send a strong message to those using cheap plastic helmets. But the cops carrying out the order have failed to understand that helmets certified by the DOT are among the safest in the world.”
Another Harley Davidson owner, Mr Vijay Jain, Wheelieboy Adventure India Ltd, says, “We appreciate the traffic department’s initiative to make sure people use ISI-certified helmets, but we are looking for a slightly higher standard as our bikes are more powerful and expensive. Our helmets are more reliable and have undergone stringent tests.” Mr Freddy Pithvala has an interesting take on this new problem. He says, “I would rather pay a Rs 100 fine to a traffic cop than wear an ISI helmet and risk my life.”
Harley Davidson Owners Association have written to Mr Brijesh Singh, DCP (Traffic) and requested to look into the matter. On asking Mr Singh about the situation, he said, “We have received the application for recognizing those helmets. I have forwarded the same to the transport department, which is the competent authority to take an appropriate decision.”