Puneites from no-helmet camp attend world’s first helmet funeral rally

Riding without helmet has already been made illegal in the city of Pune.

Legally, you cannot ride a two wheeler in Pune, without wearing a certified helmet. But, inspite of this, you will see Pune having the highest population of riders who ride two wheelers without a helmet. From 1st January, Pune Police has started a drive against all those riders who are not wearing helmets while riding on a two wheeler.

This drive against riders without helmets has been initiated by Pune Police Commissioner, who has been considered instrumental for implementing strict rules against those who are not following traffic rules. He has said that the Police will come down heavily on those who do not wear helmets.

Funeral procession of helmet in Pune.

And they have. In a matter of few days, thousands of Pune bikers have been fined by Pune Police for not wearing helmet. This has not gone down well with certain people in the city. Surprisingly, the opposition has not only come from the public, but also from some politicians. A group of businessman, politicians, NGOs, consumer and RTI activists have come together to voice their opinion against the helmet drive by Pune Police Commissioner. These folks have also formed a group and call it the Anti-Helmet Compulsion Action Committee (AHCAC).

If this was not enough, another group of agitators decided to take a procession out on public road.They were given police bandobast to carry out the procession peacefully. The images you see of the procession, were tweeted by PTI journalist Sandip Kolhatkar. He said – “Traffic jam due to #funeral rally against helmet compulsion in hadapsar #Pune @TrafflinePune”

Helmet funeral of Pune. Possibly the world’s first funeral procession for helmet.

One of the politician, who is with AHCAC, says that what is the need to wear a helmet inside a city where two wheelers are usually ridden at an average speed of 20-25 kmph. Well, the stats say otherwise, as there is a considerable increase in road accident related deaths due to head injury. Earlier this week a Honda Activa rider died due to head injury in Pune.

Just like Pune Police, we too urge our readers to wear a helmet when you are riding a two wheeler; and not listen to AHCAC. Helmet is for your safety. No one has to tell you to wear one. Police is not trying to rob you of something when they tell you to wear a helmet. They actually intend good, when they say wear a helmet.

Apart from this, motorists found talking on mobile phones, speeding or jumping signals while driving in Maharashtra will soon find their licenses confiscated for a period or 3 months. This new safety measure has come into effect following a directive from a Supreme Court appointed committee in a bid to bring down fatalities on the roads.

This decision was arrived at after a meeting held on Saturday in which highway police officials had a detailed discussion with road safety activists of the Save a Life Foundation. Statistics of road accidents in Maharashtra were enumerated while measures to tackle speed, non use of safety belts, dangerous driving, illegal parking and changing of lanes was also discussed.

Hence forth, there will be a zero tolerance campaign initiated with an aim to reduce mishaps on the roads. This was estimated at over 35,800 road crashes reported in Maharashtra last year out of which over 12,200 were fatalities. Every traffic police branch has been instructed to track offenders on six types of traffic violations and submit maximum licenses for suspension. These 6 violations include speeding, drink driving, jumping signals, talking on phone, ferrying passengers in commercial vehicle and overloading of commercial vehicles.

The State Transport Department has also instructed police on how to tackle these offenders and to ensure that this decision is immediately implemented. Apart from suspension of license, hefty fines will be levied on offenders. These stringent regulations are not only for four wheelers but two wheeler riders as well. Two wheeler riders not wearing helmets from New Year’s Day, 1st January 2019 will also have to face hefty fines and suspension of licenses.

While these safety regulations are made mandatory following Supreme Court orders, statistic of fatalities on the road revealed by various surveys and the traffic police get more vigilant, is it not the duty of every law abiding citizen of the country to follow traffic rules? Is it just the scare of losing one’s license, being slapped hefty fines or facing jail term that will cause four and two wheelers to follow the rule book? Is there no value for one’s own life and that of one’s families and loved ones?