Taking a cue from disturbing recent reports on over 100 fatal two-wheeler accidents involving ‘helmet-less’ riders, we at Pune365 decided to campaign hard to have the city’s two wheeler riders protect their lives more responsibly.
A city based college (Novel International School and College) has just made it mandatory for their students, faculty and staff to wear helmets. This action was apparently prompted by a fatal accident involving a staffer’s son. The Pune Cantonment Board has also started enforcing this rule within their geographical area.
Pune Police commissioner, Rashmi Shukla has also called for the use of helmets by the large population of college students riding two-wheelers to ensure their own safety.
But are we really doing enough to enforce this critical aspect? We spoke to senior academicians for their inputs for a call to action for helmet enforcement.
Dr. Shashikala Gurpur, Dean, Faculty of Law, SIU, Director-Symbiosis Law School says,”Helmets should be made compulsory in view of safety and to avoid fatality in case of any accident. All colleges should follow this to ensure safety within their own purview and limits, until the law makes it compulsory.
Also, the state should mandate it for riders as well as pillion riders in view of Pune’s large two wheeler population who are endangering their own and others’ road safety.
“Symbiosis law school students then, along with Dr Vidya Yeravdekar and Ravi Bharadwaj in 2001 had filed a PIL (public interest litigation) in Mumbai High court seeking the wearing of helmets to be made compulsory. It was successful, and resulted in a directive supported by extensive medical data showing the link between fatality and the non-use of helmets.
All our hostels and campuses follow this till date, either by denying parking space, or levying penalty if found without a helmet,” she adds.
“I am committed to wearing a helmet wherever I go,” says Pratap Paranjpee, a MBA student. “But in my college, several affluent students sporting their expensive bikes shun the use of helmets. On the streets also, they rarely comply with the rules.
I think the college administration should make it a point to allow only those riders that have a helmet. With this, at least they will carry helmets with them. Carrying a helmet is quite a task and they may end up wearing it.”
Dr Krishna Murthy Thakur, Director MIT-ISBJ, opines that more than just making helmets compulsory in the campus, we should stress on creating awareness among the students. “I think students themselves should take this initiative and campaign for helmet safety and guide their fellow mates regarding this.
“Currently we haven’t made it compulsory for students, but we keep advising them and making them aware about the importance of wearing a helmet. However, students in Pune are themselves aware about the consequences of helmet-less driving. If needed, we might make it compulsory in the near future,” he adds.
Prajakta Singh, an engineering student feels, it will unnecessarily increase the burden. “Students who don’t want to wear a helmet will anyways find ways to get through this norm, and for others it will add on to the extra burden of carrying it with us and keeping it safe.
“And what if a student doesn’t wear a helmet and gets away by paying fine? The administration cannot rusticate a student for not wearing a helmet, right?,” she states in disapproval.
“Not only for the students, college authorities should not let anyone enter the premises without a helmet,” says Mark Deane, Deputy Director Corporate Relations FLAME University.
“At FLAME, we make it clear that no student on a two-wheeler is allowed inside the campus. One needs to draw a line when it comes to safety.
“Also, how can we become world leaders when something as basic as one’s own safety is neglected,” he adds.
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