(By Shreyashi Roy)
Much like their counterparts at Fergusson College, students of the Brihan Maharashtra College of Commerce (BMCC) seemed unperturbed by the rising number of deaths of ‘helmet-less’ two-wheeler riders in the city. As reported in Pune Newsline last week, city police said at least 100 of the 175 deaths this year could have been avoided had the riders worn helmets. A few days ago, Newsline team had visited Fergusson College, where a majority of the students admitted to not wearing helmets, citing various reasons, like it “blocks vision, is too heavy”, etc.
On Tuesday, the team discussed the same issue with the students of BMCC. However, most BMCC students cited various reasons for not wearing helmets. Trupti Kulkarni, a first-year student, said she never wears a helmet. “I don’t have a helmet. I just haven’t bought one yet,” she said. However, she added, she was aware of the safety implications.
Her classmate, Jason Jadhav, felt the same. “I am aware of the safety implications but I feel that I don’t need a helmet,” he said. He added that he has never been stopped by the Pune Traffic Police for riding without a helmet. Another classmate, Rakesh Harry, said he wears a helmet sometimes, but only for long rides. “I don’t like wearing helmets but I wear them for longer rides, as otherwise the wind ruins my hair,” he said.
Bhakti Gavali, another first year student at the college, echoed the views of her classmates. “I only wear helmets for long rides outside the city,” she said. She added that wearing a helmet obstructs her side vision. “When in a rush, I sometimes forget to carry my helmet,” she said. Ujjwal Bhutada, a second-year student, had a similar opinion. “I wear them for long rides,” he said.
Advit Kamble and Rishikesh Randive, both first year students, too admitted to not wearing helmets. “I don’t really have a reason for not wearing a helmet… except that it makes me feel suffocated sometimes,” said Kamble. Randive, meanwhile, said he didn’t use a helmet because his scooter didn’t have a mirror, and a headgear would obstruct his side vision. Dhanashree Kadam gave the same reason. “I feel suffocated and can’t see on the side,” she said.
“I don’t do rash driving, so I don’t need a helmet,” she added. Pradnya Deshpande, an a former student of the college, said, “I usually wear helmets for long distance rides. Although, I know I should be wearing one at all times.” She admitted to being aware about the safety concerns and claimed to have participated in campaigns against helmet-less riding after losing a friend in an accident. “I don’t wear one all the time because I wear spectacles. Besides, helmets make my neck hurt,” she added.
Meanwhile, some students did follow the rule diligently. “I always wear a helmet, just to be on the safer side,” said Owi Kuchekar, a second year B Com student at the college. “In fact, I encourage others to wear helmets too,” she added. Similarly, Shivraj Pawar, a second-year BBA student, said, “I can’t go out without a helmet.”
He added that he had no problems with helmets and they always protected him from rash driving. “I encourage others to wear helmets as well, especially if they have heavy CC bikes,” he said. He recounted an incident where a friend once survived a severe accident because he was wearing a helmet. “He was forced to go off the road on the highway because two others cut through on the road. He hit the poles on the side and his helmet broke into two pieces, but he escaped unhurt,” added Pawar.