‘Helmet man’ Sandeep Shahi, a 37-year-old head constable from the Road Safety Cell, has come up with a unique way of making people aware of road safety rules. Instead of fining offenders, he raps about road safety and distributes helmets to those not wearing them.
“I have been doing this for the last four years. Ever since my wife got into an accident six years ago, I decided that I would dedicate my life to spreading awareness about traffic rules. She is alright now, but so many people die because of head injuries sustained in accidents.”
Referring to his rap song — inspired by Apna Time Aayega from Gully Boy — that went viral online, he said: “I am no singer or poet but I enjoy music. Rap resonates with the youth, so I have been composing rap songs.”
Around four years ago on Raksha Bandhan, Shahi held a ‘suraksha bandhan’ awareness camp at Madhuban Chowk and gave out helmets to all women heading to visit their brothers on bikes without helmets on. “We policemen see bodies every day, take them to the hospital. As per National Crime Records Bureau data, 413 people die in accidents across the country every day. I want to reduce this.” He said he also conducts drives at his hometown in Bihar’s Deopura, where people refrain from wearing helmets, thinking they are unnecessary.
Every month, he sets aside a minimum of Rs 2,000 for safety gear. “On special occasions such as a festival, I invest Rs 10,000-15,000 on helmets,” said Shahi, who worked as a district officer for 16 years before being shifted to the Road Safety Cell, Delhi Police traffic headquarters.
He lives with his wife and twin children in Pitampura. His children, aged 10, conduct awareness campaigns at their school every year on their birthday.
People have praised his efforts, with some apologising and pledging to wear a helmet.
“People salute and thank me. Sometimes, they have very specific demands. On Women’s Day, a woman asked me to give her a red helmet instead of a blue one,” he said.
He added that his sole purpose is to save lives, not just distribute helmets. Shahi has pledged to donate his organs when he dies: “Even as I leave this earth, I want to give others a new lease of life.”