Monday, April 25, 2005

Pillion riders shake their heads at new helmet rule

Pillion riders shake their heads at new helmet rule
Deccan Herald

Many pillion riders felt that wearing a helmet would be a nuisance.

Though the State Government’s decision to make helmet wearing compulsory from June 2005 has been hailed as a welcome move, a section of two-wheeler riders have expressed displeasure on making it mandatory for pillion riders also.

The State cabinet took a decision to impose the helmet rule on Saturday based on a study report by NIMHANS on the number of accidents due to head injuries on Bangalore roads. But the Government is yet to finalise the date for implementing the new rules.

A cross-section of people, to whom Deccan Herald spoke to, were of the view that it is a nuisance to force pillion riders to wear helmet. “A vehicle rider wearing helmet is always good and safe. There is no point in opposing this move as it is in the interest of motorists. But pillion should not be forced to wear helmet. It will be a nuisance,” said Mohit, a call centre employee.

Disagreeing with Mohit was pillion rider Pooja Dubey of Mount Carmel College, who believed helmets should be made compulsory for safety reasons. “The rule is brilliant, but the authorities should ensure that the rule is enforced,” she added.

However, Yousuf, a driver, expressed doubts on people complying to the new rules if pillion riders are not exempted from helmet wearing. “People violate the rules blatantly if it is not convenient. How can the government expect a family of three members to wear separate helmets just to ride on the bike,” he wondered. But he added that he is in favour of making helmet wearing mandatory for one who is riding the vehicle.

Differing with the usual perception that women may not like to wear helmets as “it spoils make-up”, Deepthi Jashnani of Institute of Hotel Management, said she prefers to wear a helmet while riding, even if there is no such binding rule, “because it makes common sense, as it not only protects the head, but also the eyes from dust”.

Vivek, a student, welcomed the move and it should have been introduced much before in view of increasing traffic on roads. “There is no guarantee that a motorist will turn back safely in Bangalore. If this rules is implemented, one can be 50 per cent sure of the safety,” he explained.

Ashok, a college student, said better late than never. The Government should not withdraw its decision, as was done several times in the past. “It should go ahead with the new rules,” he added.


Former prime minister H D Deve Gowda is personally, against compulsory helmet wear for two-wheeler riders. Mr Gowda, who during his term as chief minister of the State had desisted making helmet wear compulsory, on Sunday reiterated his position. He however added that he is not aware of the circumstances for the present government to seek compulsory helmet wear.


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