The Pune City police, active citizens and various civil society organisations have taken it upon themselves to make Pune adhere to the mandatory helmet rule that was implemented in the city on January 1 this year.
Due to strict enforcement of the section 129 of Motor Vehicle Act 1989 (that makes wearing helmet mandatory for every person driving or riding on a Motor Cycle) and stern policing, Pune city did see a reduction in the number of fatalities due to road accidents.
Data revealed by the police department earlier showed that around 250 people died in road mishaps in 2018, while the count was 260 in 2017. However, according to a recent survey conducted by Parisar, city-based non-government organisation and a member of the District Road Safety Committee, citizens residing in PCMC limits (Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation) seems to be reluctant to adhere to the norm.
The analysis showed that a mere 38% riders adorned the protective gears. During the survey, total 3,950 vehicles were covered (3,195 single riders and 755 double riders).
The survey further indicated that single rider helmet compliance was at 49% and in cases where the rider was carrying a passenger, it was 30% with pillion rider compliance by only 2.12%.
However, at the Hinjewadi intersection, where again there was no enforcement, the compliance rate was at 82%.
“Many MNC, BPOs have already taken a policy decision to comply with helmet rule in their respective premises which is why we see there is pretty good helmet compliance scenario at Hinjewadi junction,” said Parisar’s advocacy officer Sandeep Gaikwad.
“The need of the hour is that Pimpri-Chinchwad traffic police must focus on the rest of the junctions and start penalising helmetless riders. Then only the helmet usage will see a great surge and injuries and fatalities will come down drastically,” he adds.
Speaking about the low rate of helmet compliance in the extended city of Pune, Ankita Puruhit says, “PCMC has very low rate of policing which is why when it comes to obeying traffic rules, people have a laid-back attitude. Also, when it comes to following any government regulations, people tend to involve politics in every possible thing even if it is for their own welfare.
There are anti-establishment groups who encourage people to not follow the law of the land without actually looking at the pros and cons of the regulations. I think along with strong policing we need more social awareness and active involvement of citizens to make Pune a city that wear its helmets before going on the roads,” she adds.
A traffic police at Kondhwa chowk adds that even though there is high compliance rate in PMC limits, people still tend to risk their life. “We are always on the lookout for people who violate traffic regulations and strict action are taken against them. But people need to understand it that this is done to save deaths on roads. People are fined for driving triple seat along with their kids, that too without a helmet. Such irresponsible citizens are putting their lives in danger and are a threat to others on the road as well,” he adds.
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