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Known as the city of two-wheelers, Pune has witnessed the death of as many as 132 people in accidents involving two-wheelers, between January and September this year. In each case, neither the rider nor the pillion rider was wearing a helmet.
A majority of the riders — 80 of the 132 — were in the age group of 18 to 36 years.
Last year, as many as 175 people were killed in accidents involving two-wheelers. While 98 accidents had taken place in 2015, 79 accidents have been reported so far this year.
The Pune traffic police, who have apparently ‘gone slow’ while taking action against riders without helmets during Diwali, are all set to crack down on such riders once the festival is over. “We will place our analysis before the public shortly. Our drive against helmet-less riders continues as per the new norms,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police (traffic) Pravin Munde.
The fine for riding without a helmet has been hiked to Rs 500 from Rs 100.
Meanwhile, activists and political leaders said the “unstoppable” deaths of two-wheeler riders reflects poorly on Pune Police, the civic administration and the district administration.
“Despite such a large number of deaths… there is no concerted effort by the police or the government and civic officials to find ways to stop them. It speaks very poorly of them…,” said MLA Laxman Jagtap.
“In the last five years, over 1,000 two-wheeler riders have died. All these riders are young… either they die because of rash driving or due to the fact that our roads are no longer safe for two-wheeler riders,” said
advocate-activist Sachin Godambe.
Mukund Sarda, principal of New Law College, Erandwane, said there was a need to implement urgent safety measures on
“At short distances, there should be rumbler strips like those used on highways and expressways. This will slow
down the fast moving traffic. Besides, there is need for mass awareness, especially among youngsters, to use helmets,” he said.