Chennai gears up for wearing Helmets

Helmet wearing Motorcyclists

(Scene at a traffic signal at Bangalore)

With the Madras High Court declining again to interfere with the Tamil Nadu Government’s decision to implement the helmet law from June 1, 2007 in the six Corporation areas, and from July 1 in the rest of the State, it is clear that from tomorrow the two wheeler riders and the pillion riders will have to wear the helmets compulsorily.

I could see crowds in helmet showrooms at Thousand Lights area for the past few days. People are buying helmets in order to comply with the mandatory wearing of helmet. Some who bought the helmet have started wearing the helmets immediately and riding their bikes. Some others are carrying the helmets, not one but two or three. Certain others were enjoying the freedom of riding the bike without wearing the helmet on the penultimate day of the Government order on helmet wearing coming into effect from June 1 ,2007.

A number of road side shops have sprung up for selling helmets all over Chennai. But these are mostly cheap helmets and does not carry ISI certification, which may not protect in the event of an accident. Kamadhenu Super Market at Teynampet has opened a section for selling helmet (Was it there before ?). The Police Co-operative Society has also started selling the helmets.

Every day I keep my helmet in the bike at the basement parking in my office at Nandanam with the rearview mirror serving as the helmet stand. Today the security person brought the helmet and asked me to keep it with me . When queried for the reason , he responded saying that with the helmet law coming into force from tomorrow someone may pick the helmet which is not locked to the bike. Not only one has to wear the helmet whiler riding, he has to carry the helmet wherever he is going unless the helmet is locked in the bike or scooter. These are minor inconveniences considering the protection an helmet offers to the bike riders.

The law making the mandatory wearing of helmet is a must considering the reduction in fatal accidents, in other countries, after wearing helmets is made mandatory. When the law comes into force tomorrow, there could still be two wheeler riders not wearing helmets. We will have to see how the Police with the limited manpower is going to enforce the helmet law.

Let us hope that the Chennai two wheeler riders wholeheartedly comply with the law which will definitely reduce the fatal accidents on the roads.

6 Comments so far

  1. Sriram (unregistered) on June 1st, 2007 @ 9:33 am

    It is good for the safety of the two wheelers. Here are my some interesting questions on implementing this helmet mandatory.

    All these days, especially the lovers used to roam around the city in two wheelers with out helmet. If they are having this affair without the knowledge of their parents, Where will they keep the second helmet?

    All these days lovers parents might get some information about their sons/daughters from someone (We saw your son/daughter in Adyar riding with gal/guy in bike). But now because of this new helmet law, it will be the biggest boon for these lovers and they can roam around freely all day/night.

    Emergency/Courtesy lifts wont be given by the two wheelers even in the midnight because the person who is asking lift might not have a helmet in his/her hand. What happens if they miss their last bus? They have to walk all the way or what?

  2. B. Chakravarthy (unregistered) on June 1st, 2007 @ 3:46 pm

    I strongly oppose the government for making helmet Compulsory. For this, the police tells this reason:
    Last year only 2 persons wearing helmet died in accident.
    This is because mostly people dont wear helmets. Even if you wear helmet, if you drive rashly or you met with
    accident with heavy vehicles chances are very little to survive. At present,
    Govenment has lot of challenges to address. It should not give topmost priority to helmet wearing.
    Our government is running tasmac liquor shops. Ashame. Many brothel houses are run by police higher officials
    and political goondas. Government enacted a rule making electronic metres compulsory in autorikshas.
    But, how many autos are running with electronic metres. In chennai, it is very difficult to see an auto without
    asking flat rates. All the roads are with lot of potholes. CMDA rules are not followed in more than 75000 buildings
    in chennai.
    Will the government clarify, which is very fatal – riding without helmets? or tasmac liquor. Thousands of poor families
    are ruined by liquor consuming men. Governemnt is supporting this tragedies.
    Our CM has sent a letter to the central government telling that buildings that have violated CMDA rules should be
    regularised. All because of money? Police stations, RTO offices, Registrar offices, taluk offices – everywhre bribery
    is very common. These officials are behaving like it is their right to get bribes. Government should eradicate these first.
    If government is still worried about the lives of two wheelers why not give helmets at free of cost?
    After all it is giving colour tvs, gas stoves to thoses who already have them. It is spending 100s of crores of rupees
    unnecessarily – only to garner votes from poor.
    Mostly two wheeler riders are from middle class families. Many persons are riding their vehicles with borrowed
    petrol (money). Moreover, middle class people would have spent thousands of rupees this month for their childrens
    education. At this time it is
    pathetic to force them to spend for helmets. Helmets wearing has lot of inconveniences. Headache, hair loss,
    not able to see sideways etc. If you want to drop your children in schools, and if you are going to your office,
    your situation will be bad. If you want to go to a function, where will all
    the persons coming to the function keep their helmets? suppose you lose your helmet somewhere you cannot come
    from their without purchasing another helmet.
    Considering these situations government should not force the people to wear helmets. But it may educate them.
    If people think it necessary they will wear helmets on their own.

  3. Thad E. Ginathom (unregistered) on June 1st, 2007 @ 6:05 pm

    Giving a list of all the other things wrong in society is one big non-argument.

    Open your mind and see the lessons of other countries. What you say about few helmet wearers dieing in chennai is very likely true, as a way of discrediting a meaningless statistic — but there is a world beyond Chennai and India, in which many, many lives have been saved by bike riders wearing helmets and car occupants using seat belts. There is decades of proof available, unless you are just determined to ignore it.

    Of course it is also true that that helmet will not save your arms, your legs, your ribs… But it may well keep you alive.

    As to the myths… I have never heard an American or British bike rider complain of discomfort, and the hair loss thing is plainly ridiculous. It’s age that makes you loose your hair.

    I noticed today lots of riders wearing helmets. I noticed also that a number of people seem to think that their children are immune from injury and law.

  4. Thad E. Ginathom (unregistered) on June 1st, 2007 @ 6:09 pm

    By the way

    Has anyone ever pointed out to motor cyclists that overtaking a vehicle indicating it is about to turn, on the side it turning to is, basically suicidal?

    Guys. Kill yourselves. Fell free, it’s your life; it’s your right.

    But, Please, don’t involve me and my car….

  5. yogesh (unregistered) on June 3rd, 2007 @ 1:42 am

    exactly..if the person above is so determined not to wear a helmet he can use other means of transport like the bus or the auto rikshaw…and it will be better if others follow it to…and like MR Thad E. Ginathom said the bikers really want to kill themselves..everytime even after giving the left indicator very close to the edge of the road,almost turning and a bike comes from nowhere and i have to brake hard to avoid hitting him…there is a reason for the left indicator ppl!!

  6. VINOD NAMBIAR (unregistered) on June 17th, 2007 @ 12:27 pm



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