Data from 2013 lists the number at 1214 road crashes in India each day. Every 4 minutes, there’s a road crash death. With about 377 deaths daily, and three times the number of injuries on a regular basis, the need for effective road safety measures to be implemented is a necessity.File photo: Mumbai police two wheeler and helmet safety drive
Those within the 30-44 years age group are most susceptible to death from a road crash. Those on two wheelers account for 25 pct of total road crash deaths. No doubt, it is an important pool that needs to be safeguarded. But no one ever said it has to be done in the most sensible manner, especially since a number of state transport departments have failed to enforce helmet rule for two wheelers.
From early 2015, those headed to RTO (Mumbai) are required sign an indemnity bond. The forced upon oath of sorts is a declaration to transport department and traffic police by a two wheeler rider in regards to buying a helmet, and wearing it. The signer is also responsible for the pillion’s helmet wearing commitment. All this because the court directed the transport department to ensure riders wear a helmet for accident protection.
No one denies that wearing a helmet is essential, but how a a state implements the law is another story. Within West Bengal, if you were in Calcutta, helmets have been compulsory before their importance was highlighted. If you have lived in Pune for a considerable period of time, the city’s resistance to helmets has been in focus for a while now.
If a rider is caught without a helmet, the refusal is followed by counselling sessions at RTO. The crux of the matter is, riders need to sign an indemnity bond to give assurance that they will not forget to wear a helmet. So, if a two wheeler is involved in an accident, a rider without a helmet will bear the blame. The onus doesn’t lie with transport and traffic authorities.
In furthering the development, now dealers have to sign an affidavit before registration. The seller has to declare a helmet was sold along with the two-wheeler. Without a commitment from a buyer and dealer, vehicle registration just isn’t going to happen. Those getting a driving licence also need to make a pledge regarding helmet use.
Two wheeler manufacturers have in recent times showed renewed interest in road safety organising camps and drives to hammer home the message. Some dealers do offer packages selling bikes and helmets at a time. We are still awaiting word on what happens when a buyer already is in possession of a helmet, and how are cops going to determine whether or not a helmet in use is a certified offering?
There’s also no clarity regarding how traffic cops will approach the millions of riders who are already plying the roads, unless they are caught riding without a helmet.
Domestic two wheeler (Scooter/Scooterettee, Motor cycles/Step-Through, and Moped) sales in March 2015 stood at 1,323,184 units (PY 1,334,450 units) down .84 pct. Scooter sales last month stood at 395,901 units (PY 356,233 units) up 11.14 pct. Motorcycle sales stood at 859,521 units (PY 906,901 units), down 5.22 pct. Moped sales were down 4.98 pct at 67,762 units sold (PY 71,316 units). Two wheeler sales last month stood at about 5.5 times that of passenger cars sold in India.