Despite data showing a huge number of fatalities and injuries caused due to riding without helmets, city-based NGO Parisar undertook a comparative study — one survey conducted in May 2018 and another in December 2018 — that looks into compliance rate. Parisar is also a member of the District Road Safety Committee.
Both the surveys were based on photographs taken at 10 prominent intersections across the city. An analysis of the photographs showed the usage of helmets at 28 per cent during the rush hour and 32 per cent during the off-peak hour of the day, an indicator of how callously road safety is practised in Pune.
It is interesting to note that while the organisation was planning to conduct a second survey, the Traffic Commissioner announced the implementation of the helmet law and the city saw a miniscule rise in its use soon after. The organisation attributes the small increase to that mandatory rule of using helmets, which again proves that enforcement of law is a big motivator.
Similar trend was seen among pillion riders too — the first survey indicated an abysmal 1.1 per cent usage and the second survey showed 4.1 per cent. In a statement issued here, advocacy officer, Sandeep Gaikwad, said: “We plan to carry out our next survey in another six months to see whether and how much the enforcement impacts the compliance. We intend to use this study as a baseline survey for our next study. There is no such study available at present, hence we decided to conduct our own. We are sure that if the Traffic Police keeps up the monitoring and penalising the violators, helmet usage will see a great surge, and injuries and fatalities will come down drastically. Vietnam took its road safety very seriously and a case study shows that only after enforcement, the compliance rate went up from a mere 6 per cent to 90per cent.”
Programme Director, Ranjit Gadgil, said: “Since the enforcement has finally begun in the city, it would be important for the Traffic Department to monitor compliance rate systematically and set periodic goals, which would guide the department on various approaches to enforcement. Unless compliance rates are close to 100 per cent, we may not see any significant drop in fatalities in the city. The number of two-wheeler fatalities for the first 10 months of 2018 was 184.The target should be to reduce fatalities by at least 50 per cent in two years, which means it should be brought down by around 25 per cent in 2019.”