Helmet wearing compulsory at Chennai from June 1, 2007
The Government has made it mandatory vide its order dated 22.02.2007 for the two wheeler riders and the pillion riders to wear helmets with effect from June 1, 2007 at Chennai and other 5 Municipal Corporations (Madurai, Coimbatore, Trichy, Salem, Tirunelveli);
Implementation of compulsory wearing of helmets in the remaining areas in the State of Tamil Nadu becomes effective from July 1, 2007. Non-wearing of helmets by two wheeler drivers and pillion riders for the first instance will attract a fine which may extend upto one hundred rupees, and for any second or subsequent offences with fine which may extend upto three hundred rupees.
In Kolkata where helmet wearing is mandatory , Motorists and their pillon riders wear helmets just to escape penalties imposed by the traffic police. Usage of wrong kind of helmet is as good as not wearing helmet at all.
IS 4151 is an Indian Standard Specification for motorcycle helmets. Helmets made for police, industrial and mining purposes have different specifications and are not suitable for protection in case of a motorcycle accident.
The ISI branded helmets bear the licence code, say IS: 4151, besides the seven digit licence number, name of the manufacturing company, shape, year of manufacture and the standard mark The cheaper helmets could shatter on the slightest impact and will not save anybody’s skull in case of a crash. A helmet should be replaced every two or three years. If a helmet has been involved in an impact, it must be changed without a second thought.
The quality helmets come for anything between Rs 500 and above while the cheaper ones are available at a lower price. Surveys conducted worldwide have confirmed that the helmet is the most effective counter measure against brain injury in the life of a two- wheeler user.
A mandatory helmet usage law was enacted on June 1, 1997 in Taiwan. Before the helmet law, it was reported that only 21% of motorcyclists used helmets, while 95.95% used helmets after the law was in place. Motorcycle-related head injuries decreased from 5,260 in the year before the law was passed to 3,535 in the year following the passage of the law. The number of hospitalized patients with motorcycle-related head injuries decreased from 211 to 141, and skull fractures were reduced by 34.3% from 839 to 551.
The two major government hospitals — the General Hospital attached to Madras Medical College and the Stanley Medical College Hospital in Royapuram — together receive 70 to 90 cases of head injury every day. Ninety per cent of them are due to road traffic accidents (RTAs). Stanley Medical College Hospital receives 15-20 head injury cases every day.
The Chennai traffic police recorded 1136 fatal accidents in 2006; of these nearly 50 per cent were two-wheeler accidents. According to the Police Department only two people have died with helmets.
Surveys cite many reasons for riders not wearing helmets, including discomfort, fear of hair-loss, headache, neck pain, and some other reasons.
With the law making the two wheeler riders and pillion riders making the wearing of helmets compulsory with effect from June 1, 2007 at Chennai, let us hope and wish that the two wheeler accidents does not result in loss of life.
Tail piece :
While researching in the net for this post I found that Concord Arai Private Ltd , a Chennai based company is the first to manufacture helmets in the Country & Chennai and Coimbatore already have a sizeable population of helmet wearers.
(References : Recent newspaper reports in the Net and The Effectiveness of Motorcycle Helmets and Mandatory Helmet Laws By Helmut Schneider ISDS Department at Louisiana State University dated December 9, 2006)