Sunday, November 15, 2009

BACK TO HEAD GEAR

BACK TO HEAD GEAR
About 6,000 accidents occur on Bangalore’s roads; over 800 of them are fatal and most of the victims pillion riders. It is time they too started wearing helmets
BANGALORE MIRROR BUREAU


Making helmetwearing mandatory for twowheeler riders is fine. But why not spare a thought for the pillion riders who face as grave a risk as the riders, or even more? Just sample this. Bangalore sees 6,000 road accidents every year, of which over 800 are fatal. And a majority of the victims are pillion riders.
One can imagine the bike riders’ guilt feeling. While they survive, the ones who sat behind them are no more.
Reynold, 50, an IT professional who survived a crash, but lost the person sitting behind him, has still not been able to overcome the trauma.
ROAD RASH
Recalling the harrowing incident, Reynold said he was returning home from his office on Inner Ring Road on February 2 this year when a woman asked him for a lift. “While I was riding, a speeding vehicle rammed into my bike from behind. I lost balance and hit a median and we both were thrown off the vehicle. That’s all I could remember. When I gained consciousness, I was in the hospital, I later found she had died,” he said.
“It is a terrible feeling. Though I don’t know her, it is difficult to digest the fact that the person who travelled with me is no more. I’m gradually trying to get over that feeling,” he said.
Reynold said he was saved because he wore a helmet. “She had a head injury. Had she worn a helmet, she could have survived,” he felt.
HEAD WOES
According to Dr N C Prakash, consultant neuro and spine surgeon, HOSMAT, head and spinal injuries are common among pillion riders. The hospital receives at least six to seven cases of pillion riders having sustained head or spinal injuries in accidents every month.
Not many pillion riders use helmets. B Lokesh, Assistant Commissioner of Police (Traffic), Adugodi sub-division, said, “Hardly two to three per cent of pillion riders use helmets. If they too use helmets, more than half the major injuries associated with two-wheeler accidents can be reduced.”
‘FATAL’ STUDY

• Two-wheeler riders and pillions are the second leading road users who account for 38 per cent of deaths and 51 per cent of injuries, according to a road traffic injury surveillance study, conducted by NIMHANS in association with WHO and 21 other city hospitals

• 87 per cent of accident victims were men; more than half in both fatal and non-fatal accidents had not worn helmets

• 82 per cent of victims in non-fatal two-wheeler accidents were in the age group of 16 to 45

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