Jamshedpur, Feb 1: City traffic police have embarked on a drive to ensure that the pillion riders wear protective headgear too. District transport officer, Dinesh Ranjan said that a notification has been issued in this regard and police have been asked to intensify drive.It is now mandatory for pillion riders to wear helmets in the city. Police will now start issuing challans to riders too, if they do not wear helmets.
According to a recent World Health Organization report, India has the highest number of road deaths in a year in the world – 105,725 deaths, followed by China (96,611), the US (42,642) and Russia (35,972).
“This means two persons who die every day in road accidents are two wheeler riders. In India, a total number of 35,767 two wheeler riders, many of them women, were killed in road accidents. “The main risk factor for motorised two wheeler users is non-use of helmets and head injuries are the major cause of death, injury and disability among them,” the Transport department officials said.
“We have taken the decision to make the pillion-rider wear a helmet because the number of pillion-riders falling victim to fatal road mishap in and around the steel city is increasing. The decision to enforce wearing helmets on the pillion-rider is in accordance with the Motor Vehicle Act,” said a police official.
“Almost every motorcycle rider in the city is not wearing helmets following the efforts made in this direction. But it has never been a part of pillion riders’ habit to wear helmets; but that is about to change soon. The campaigns to penalise helmetless drivers will now have special focus on pillion riders without helmets,” stated an official.
Quality of helmets worn by riders again puts a question mark over the effectiveness of the drive. Section 129 clearly states that the helmets should conform to the standard of Bureau of India Standard but people tend to compromise on quality to save some money. Drives to curb street-side counters selling sub-standard helmets were also kicked off but in vain.
The use of substandard helmets by the motorcyclists is on the rise as a number of people could be witnessed on the city roads wearing such helmets and sprinting their bikes, risking their life. They are of their opinion that they use light weight plastic helmets to counter the heat as well as to avoid the traffic violation tickets and not to avoid road accidents.
With traffic police intensifying enforcement of the mandatory helmet rule for two-wheeler riders, use of cheap and substandard headgear has increased several-fold. A number of roadside helmet shops have sprung up across town to meet the increasing demand of such helmets which fall woefully short of Bureau of Indian Standards guidelines.