The dispirited traffic police facing an uphill task in their bid to make helmets mandatory have help at hand from some of Pune’s top officers. They are getting ready to give a boost to their efforts to make helmets a habit of two-wheeler riders in the city where, on an average, over 200 two-wheeler riders without helmets have been dying every year, for the past five years.
While lending outright support to the drive that was announced by Police Commissioner Satish Mathur earlier this month, top officials said they would pitch in with to create awareness of the importance of the headgear in the safety of the riders.
Leading from the front is PCMC commissioner Rajiv Jadhav who will ride a two-wheeler on “Trink Trink Day” organised by PCMC on December. Jadhav said he will urge his officers to join him in riding two-wheelers. “On December 30, we are organising a rally to promote use of cycles and other environment friendly ways. I will ride a two-wheeler as a symbolic gesture to create awareness among the masses,” Jadhav said. The PCMC chief said the drive of the traffic police for mandatory use of helmets was well-intentioned and should continue till it becomes a habit among people.
District Collector Saurabh Rao expressing wholehearted support for the drive in view of the large number of deaths of city’s youngsters, said “It is a people-friendly move. There may be certain quarters protesting, but the drive should not stop. It is intended to ensure safety of youths, many of who died on the city’s roads. I am sure the drive will inculcate a habit among youngsters and the masses at large,” he said. Rao said he will like to ride a two-wheeler wearing a helmet. “Next week, I will decide the day on which I will ride a two-wheeler in the city. It will be an effort to generate awareness,” said Rao, who recently hacked down PMPML’s plan to increase bus fares which many feared would turn public opinion in favour of owning personal vehicles and clog the city’s already jammed roads.
PMC commissioner Kunal Kumar also lent his unflinching support to the drive. “Wearing helmet is important. Even a small accident resulting in a fall could cause death. Two-wheelers riders should understand it is for their safety,” he said. Kumar said he was not sure whether he would ride a two-wheeler to spread awareness, but would certainly work in close coordination with the traffic police to do whatever possible. “We will discuss with traffic police as to what needs to be done and what help PMC can offer to create public awareness,” he said.
The University of Pune, which has not made helmets mandatory on campus, said it will take the decision about creating awareness on Monday. “We will discuss with the Vice-Chancellor and other officials regarding awareness about helmets among students, university staffers and college staffers,” said university registrar Narendra Kadu. “I am in favour of compulsory use of helmets. A two-wheeler rider should keep safety in mind while riding the vehicle. The helmet is the best protector of your head,” he said.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (traffic) Sarang Awad said appreciated the support from various quarters. “We are determined to carry on with the drive. And support from PMC, PCMC, district collectorate and the university will go a long way in inculcating the habit of safe driving,” Awad said.