While both, the RTO and Pune Police have notified that helmets are compulsory in the city and strict action would be taken from 1st Jan, 2019, only a handful of the population seems to have taken it seriously.
Protests and excuses seem to be centred around citizens complaining of a scarcity of helmets, the lack of need in city traffic and more such ludicrous reactions.
Pune 365 decided to check the situation on the ground and spoke to retailers, citizens on the ‘Great Pune Helmet Debate‘
City retailer, Moto Central’s Sandeep, said “ There is no increase in the sale of helmets even after the announcement of it being made mandatory.
All varieties are on offer (branded and ISI marked) to ensures your safety and also helmets for kids and senior citizens which are lightweight.”
Contrary To what people are saying, there is absolutely no shortage of helmets and it is easily available at stores.
Venkatesh from Clutch & Gear helmets said, ‘Till date only three-four parents have bought helmets for their kids.
There hasn’t been any significant spurt in sales considering the vehicular population of the city. Citizens who are aware of the consequences are going for a helmet, while the rest are all indifferent to the need for helmets.
Few are buying helmets according to their needs, for example, a man with spondylitis has opted for a lightweight helmet recently.
A local helmet vendor Ramprakash said Our helmets are ISI marked but not leading brands and high priced as in stores.
We sell helmets at a nominal price from 300-1000 depending on the brand and the design of the helmet.Despite prices so low we are not seeing any major sales.
Some days none are sold and on others maybe 4-5 sold. Am uneducated, but when am riding, I ensure my wife and son are using helmets also.
I wonder how educated people fail to understand the benefits of wearing helmets, Ramprakash added.
A section of citizens Pune365 spoke too complain that helmets are overpriced and hence our the reach of the common man…
Hemant Chaudhari, Software professional says, “I have been a responsible rider and helmets shouldn’t be forced on people who understand their own safety and ride safely without violating traffic rules.
Helmets are over priced too, If the RTO and Police have issued compulsion order on helmets, they should also rework the prices of ISI marked helmets.
One helmet cost around 1200- 1300 which is too expensive for a common man like me. There are roadside vendors who sell helmets too, but again if that is not tested and not safe. So, why should we wear one?
If the government is going to offer helmets at budget prices, am ok wearing it! Chaudhari added.
“We all know Pune is a slow city and it will take time for people to adopt the safest modes of transport, be it using a helmet or just following the traffic lights, says Arjun Mishra, Businessman.
This kind of compulsion is much needed here, what with the rising accident cases in the city.
I have started using a helmet for the past few days and it doesn’t feel funny on the head. It is just getting better with time, Arjun added.
Sanika Thosar, Banker says, “ I don’t think helmets should be made compulsory in a city like Pune, we have narrow roads in the city and with the increasing traffic, one can barely speed.
It should rather be made compulsory only on highways. I have not bought a helmet nor will I buy one until I see that the compulsion is observed all over the city.
Even several years ago there was a compulsion on helmets, but from the first day itself, it failed. Also with the recent compulsion of helmets, the stores in the city have hiked the prices of helmets and even a roadside vendor sells a helmet for Rs 1000.
Jaya Banerjee, Social Activist opines, “If you own a two wheeler, you must own 2 helmets, one for yourself and one for whoever rides pillion with you.”
Well, thats something that not all Pune riders seem to agree with. It’s sad, that safety isn’t the primary concern, and riders give excuses.
She further adds Pune riders and drivers seem to always want to break rules, ride on the wrong side or break signals to save a few minutes of travelling time, not realising the danger they cause to themselves and others.
Why is it that we learn only after a tragic accident happens? Why risk your life, body and mind for ridiculous reasons?
There is a reason that world over helmets are worn for rider safety, then why is it that riders in Pune don’t understand safety?
Banerjee further says, I urge riders and their families to ensure that a helmet is necessary, never know what happens, and it could change your life forever. Safety is Supreme
#Pune365ForHelmets- Wear One, Stay Alive!
#All views are those of the individual respondent’s and Pune365 does not necessarily subscribe to them.