Pune, with one of the highest density of two-wheelers, ironically sees the most riders without a helmet. Out of a dozen reported accidents every day, most two-wheeler riders lose their life to this helmet-less riding.
Agitations and media attention has done nothing to encourage people to adopt helmets. Campaigns like the ‘No Helmet No Petrol’ also fell on deaf ears resulting in the increase of fatalities every day. Unlike the strict enforcement of seat belts, this malaise of helmet less riding has seen no focused attention from the authorities either.
We at Pune365 are committed to campaign for helmets for as long as it takes, in the best interest of safety. We spoke to a cross section of riders and specialists to get their opinion on this dangerous trend.
Dr Ravi Pratap, Consultant and Head of Emergency Medicine, Columbia Asia Hospital: We get around 4-5 two-wheeler accident cases every day, of which two-thirds suffer injuries because they were not wearing helmets. In many cases, the death of the rider could have been avoided if he/she wore a helmet. On an average, 50% of the cases are registered with isolated head injuries.
When a person falls in an unprotected environment, it is obvious that he will bang his head on the ground injuring himself. We always ask the wounded, whether he was wearing a helmet or not and half of them deny it. When asked about the reason they say, that they develop dandruff and hair fall, which is quite lame of them.
Sanjay Joshi, Businessman and Cycling enthusiast: In my view, wearing a helmet, be it while driving a two-wheeler or a cycle is very important. I am a living example of how helmets can save a life. Having met with two major accidents, I am fine and healthy now, all thanks to my helmet. In Pune, there is a lot of negligence by the people and the authorities as well. If at all some wear it, they wear it only to escape the police.
Dhananjay Paranjape, Businessman: Helmets are subjected to the speed in which a person is riding a vehicle. For short distance travel, or say for a speed of 30 KM or below, helmets can be avoided because sometimes helmets also obstructs the vision of the rider. In a crowded area, it is necessary to look at all the directions. Also, there is the storage issue. It is not possible to carry helmets for both the riders.Yet, for long-distance travel or high-speed driving, a helmet is a life saver.
Also, some people might skip wearing one, as the high-quality ones are expensive. There are cheap quality helmets available in the markets but they aren’t recommended.
Shripad Patki, Student: I know helmets are meant to protect us, but it suffocates me. Whenever I wear it, I develop itching on my scalp. Also, it is very uncomfortable to ride with a heavy helmet, all covered and blocking the vision.
Priya Rahega, Marketing Manager: I usually wear a helmet. However, recently I acquired a music player that set me back a pretty penny. Now the amazing bass isn’t something I can drive without. Yet, alas! Wearing the helmet over the music player isn’t possible. So I embrace the music and ditch safety on my everyday commute.
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