Many heads fewer helmets

Published on November 11, 2021 by

Despite several campaigns by the city police to combat helmet-less riding cases, the number of cases booked for this offence have increased

Bengaluru: With over 31 lakh cases registered this year, data from Traffic Management Center shows there has been a 54 percent increase in cases booked for helmet-less riding in comparison to 2019.

Approximately 31, 34,595 two-wheeler riders have been fined till October 2021. However, over Rs 149 crore has been collected as fine from riders for helmet-less riding.

Dilip Kumar, traffic constable at Cubbon Park, said, “Many riders roam around without helmets as well as pillion riders. When we find someone without helmet, we click a picture and send to TMC (Traffic Management Centre), and they generate a digital fine challan. If they’re caught the next time, it is shown in the PDA (Personal Digital Assistants) machine.” He also adds that despite several campaigns by the Bangalore traffic police, there is a steady increase of violators. He said, “Daily we see around three percent of riders in the city center and 10-12 percent in the outskirts not wearing helmets.”

According to Section 129 of the Motor Vehicles Act, every person driving or riding (otherwise than in a side car, on a motor cycle of any class or description) shall, while in a public place, wear protective headgear conforming to the standards of Bureau of Indian Standards. Helmet-less driving is a violation of the law and offenders are fined Rs 500 (reduced from Rs 1000 by the Karnataka Government in 2019). People who are caught without helmets for a third time face a driving license suspension for three months, as per the laws in place since September 2020.

More than a third (37%) of those killed in road accidents in 2019 were two-wheeler riders, noted a Ministry of Road Transport and Highways’ report published in October this year. According to a World Health Organisation Report, correct helmet use could reduce the risk of fatal injuries by 42 percent and head injuries by 69 percent.

Data also shows that of the 1348 people killed in two-wheeler road accidents in the city between 2018-2020, 27 percent were riders without helmets. Two-wheeler offenders constitute 86.17 percent of the total booked cases, according to the Bangalore Traffic Police website.

Aritra Nandy, a rider, said, “Those people who avoid wearing helmet do it intentionally just to challenge the system. Riding without a helmet doesn’t make you look cool. An accident can ruin your life.”

The Traffic Management Center have tried to implement rules like ‘No helmet No fuel’ and campaigns like ‘Yamraja’ to combat the problem of helmet-less driving. But none of them have been successful as the number of cases keeps rising. A senior official said, “Many campaigns have been launched and we plan to implement more in future specially for the young riders. There is a need to spread awareness regarding fatalities.”

Professor M.N. Sreehari, Traffic expert and advisor, said “The head of the driver is very important than the other parts of the body. If the head is not protected, and if for police’s sake one just wears it, it is not correct. The ear should also be protected.” He adds that helmet is not for fashion. He says, “If one can buy a Rs 1-2 lakhs bike, they can very well buy an ISI marked helmet and cover the head, ear and chin properly. The overall number has increased with 38-40 percent of deaths for two wheeler only.”

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