Day after city police commissioner Satish Mathur said — during an Idea Exchange with The Indian Express and Loksatta staffers — that he was in favour of making use of helmets mandatory for two-wheeler riders, deputy commissioner of police (DCP) Vishwas Pandhare on Saturday directed the traffic personnel to take action against those who are found riding two-wheelers without wearing helmets.
DCP Pandhare said a crackdown had been already going on. “But now it will be more strictly implemented in view of rising incidents of road mishaps in which those riding two-wheelers without wearing helmets died after suffering head injuries.” He said that in a recent case, a young two-wheeler rider died in a road mishap in Somwar Peth area on Friday evening and the victim had not worn a helmet.
“The traffic control branch personnel have been asked to check whether the two-wheeler riders held for violation of traffic rules are wearing helmets. If such offenders are found without helmets, an additional fine of Rs 100 would be imposed on them for violation of norms,” he said.
“We will start taking action from Sunday in the jurisdiction of Pune city police. We have taken similar action in the past as well. In 2013, we booked 39,689 traffic offenders for not wearing helmets while riding two-wheelers. A fine of 41.6 lakh was collected from them. In 2014, so far we have caught 622 persons and collected fine of Rs 98,600,” he said.
Pandhare said using helmets while driving two-wheelers was already made mandatory for cops attached to the Pune city police. Replying to a question during an Idea Exchange at The Indian Express about the implementation of the Supreme Court directives on making helmets compulsory while riding two-wheelers, Mathur had said, “Helmets serves as a protection. When I was a joint commissioner (traffic) in Mumbai, I was involved in the implementation. In those days (2003-07), people in Mumbai used to give Pune’s example and say they did not wants helmets to be compulsory. But Mumbai has adopted it. Studies have shown that helmets protect you. I appeal to Pune citizens they start using helmets whether there is a law or not.” Mathur had said he would first start an awareness drive before aiming at strict implementation on day one.
Wearing helmet cuts injury risk by 70%, likelihood of death by 40%: WHO
Observing that in many low-income and middle-income countries, users of two-wheelers — particularly motorcyclists — make up more than 50 per cent of those injured or killed on the roads, the World Health Organisation (WHO) had suggested wearing a helmet as the single most effective way of reducing head injuries and fatalities resulting from motorcycle and bicycle crashes.
“Wearing a helmet has been shown to decrease the risk and severity of injuries among motorcyclists by about 70 per cent, the likelihood of death by almost 40 per cent, and to substantially reduce the costs of health care associated with such crashes,” WHO, in its release titled ‘Helmet use saves lives’, had said.
It also says head injuries are the main cause of death and disability among two-wheeler users and the costs of treating head injuries are high because they frequently require specialised medical care or long-term rehabilitation.
Observing that many countries have succeeded in increasing helmet use through adopting laws that make helmet use compulsory, WHO had cited the example of Thailand.
“In Thailand, for instance, 80 per cent of the 20 million registered motorized vehicles are motorcycles. In 1992, when helmet use was not mandatory, 90 per cent of deaths resulting from traffic injuries were among motorcycle users, almost all due to head injuries. Legislation passed in the north-eastern province of Khon Kaen to make helmet use mandatory, supported by enforcement and publicity programmes, led to a 40 per cent reduction in head injuries among motorcyclists and a 24 per cent drop in motorcyclist deaths within the two years,” the WHO release reads.