AS MANY as 175 two-wheeler riders have died in road accidents in the city, between January and September this year. As per the Pune Police, at least 100 of them could have survived had they worn helmets. Over the past few weeks, teams from Pune Newsline have been visiting city colleges — the Fergusson College, the Brihan Maharashtra College of Commerce and the College of Engineering Pune — to find out the opinion of youths on the issue.
On Sunday, the team talked to the students of Abasaheb Garware College, Karve Road. At the campus, several students were seen riding bikes without a helmet. Most of the pillion riders, too, did not wear a helmet.
Many students said they have helmets, but did not wear one, even as they complained about the traffic in Pune.
A first-year student of Computer Science, Suyash Jawale, said, “I have been riding a two-wheeler for two years, of these I have worn a helmet for only a month. It did not fit. I felt uncomfortable while riding. While the good ones are expensive, about Rs 3,000. So, I prefer not to wear one. It is okay for me, as I drive slow anyway.”
Many of students at the Garware Junior College, who carry a learning licence, too, admitted to not wearing a helmet.
Dhanashree Gawade, a science student, said, “I got a learning licence as I have a non-gear vehicle. I don’t like wearing helmets. They are too heavy. However, I think I should wear one as the traffic in Pune is dangerous…”
Her friend, Neha Kshivsagar, feels otherwise. “I travel from Kothrud to Karve Nagar every day. The traffic is not that bad. Nonetheless, I will purchase a helmet because of my parents. Besides, I think it is better to be safe than sorry,” she said.
Meanwhile, a science student in the senior college, said, “I have a nasal problem. I avoid using a helmet as I have difficulty breathing otherwise.”
She added that she used to wear helmets earlier but stopped after developing a breathing problem.
Ketan Bhavsar, a first-year student of Psychology, said he always wears a helmet. “I always wear a helmet, except once. And I had an accident that day, which caused a ligament tear in my shoulder. Though, wearing a helmet would not have caused any less injury that day. Still, I’m more careful now. Besides, the traffic in Pune is so bad that one should always wear one.”
His classmate, Akash Kakade, who was riding pillion, differed. “I don’t wear a helmet. It doesn’t matter if the traffic is bad or not, a helmet doesn’t help much,” he said.
Achyut Kumar, a third-year student of Microbiology, said he preferred wearing a helmet, as travels a long way to college every day. “I wear a helmet for my own safety, even though the traffic police never catch any one not wearing one. But the public transport in Pune cannot be trusted. Bus drivers are quite rash.”
Achyut’s junior, Chinmay Joshi, agreed. “I wear a helmet almost every day, except on shorter rides. Also, since I have to travel long distances to reach college, my parents insist that I wear a helmet,” he said.