The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) had stated earlier that helmets could not weigh more than 1.2kg
Helmets have been the bane of the country’s distressing reports on yearly deaths owing to road accidents. The problem is manifold, and sometimes dealing with one aspect may not necessarily help solve anything or change the situation noticeably.
For now, the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) is revising an order passed in 2018, which ruled that helmets could not weigh more than 1.2 kgs. The ruling also recognised only ISI-marked examples to be the safety benchmark of helmets permissible for sale.
Non-ISI helmets are rudimentary knockoffs that offer no protection, come cheap, require no R&D, but are quite popular among buyers. Most importantly, they are dangerous. In trying to safeguard the higher pedestal ISI-marked helmets enjoy, BIS inadvertently threw foreign helmet brands in a quandary. The natural process of elimination hinged on two facts: 1) presumed hierarchy of ISI and, 2) weight threshold that foreign manufacturers couldn’t match (such helmets mostly weigh 1.5 kgs).
While the ruling was meant to ensure a safety standard applicable to all, it was built on the premise that only ISI standards are recognised. This did not bode well for those keen on using higher-quality foreign-made helmets. While riders who can afford or find value in investing in them did not know what to do next, others were left searching for answers as to what happens if caught wearing such a helmet. Foreign helmets of global standards had been ostracised in recent years. That is, until now.
Safe foreign-made helmets are now legal
The current BIS update, effective from September 4, 2020, has once again raised the weight permit of helmets to 1.5 kgs. This automatically safeguards the interest of quality helmets from global brands following standards such as DOT, ECE, Snell, etc.
A tectonic mindset change is required to make riders realise the value of a safe helmet. It can, in all its glory be the single most important factor when it comes to the impact of an accident and its resultant head injury. ISI-certified helmets are retailed at a lower price point and adhere to local safety protocols required of them. Foreign examples, though pricier, offer mental satisfaction of having invested in the safest possible option (as can be seen in the video above, by Lets Gear Up). Furthermore, there is no reason for buyers to have this choice. One has every right to safeguard their life.
Bottom line: Wear a helmet, and ensure it is safe enough. Unless motorists wear a helmet for its function rather than to evade a fine, the purpose of a good helmet is lost. Wearing a helmet just for the sake of following a rule is sidelined to wearing an ornament on the bobblehead, akin to a watermelon helmet.