Pune Police is strictly implementing a rule on mandatory use of helmets but Pimpri-Chinchwad Police has launched no such campaign. In an interview to The Indian Express, Pimpri-Chinchwad Police Commissioner R K Padmanabhan says they are implementing the helmet rule as an ‘ongoing activity’ and not as a ‘focused activity’.
While Pune Police is implementing the helmet norm strictly, why is the Pimpri-Chinchwad Police keeping silent?
Who says we are keeping silent? We are not. We are not implementing it like a campaign as is being done in Pune city. It is an ongoing activity and not a focused activity. This means we are consistently taking action under the Motor Vehicles Act that makes wearing helmets mandatory.
Are you afraid of public backlash in case you launch a campaign?
No, we are not afraid of public backlash. We are implementing the law on a daily basis and penalising people riding without helmets. This has been a daily activity since the Pimpri-Chinchwad Police Commissionerate came into being last year.
Is there any political pressure on you to not launch a drive against helmets?
There is no pressure on us whatsoever. As I said, we are implementing the provision related to compulsory use of helmets under the Motor Vehicles Act daily. We have not launched any special movement. We believe that it should be an everyday activity and nobody should be allowed to violate the law. Sometimes, under a special movement, the activity is carried out with pomp and show for some days and then it cools down. We don’t want that to happen. Therefore, people should not have the wrong impression that Pimpri-Chinchwad Police is silent. We are consistent in our action.
If not helmets, what is on top of your agenda?
Right on top of our agenda is taking action against those driving on the wrong side. That way, we can protect others too. When it comes to riding without helmets, individuals are being irresponsible and they pose a threat to their own lives. But those who break the rules and drive on the wrong side pose a threat to the lives of pedestrians as well as unsuspecting riders.
Have you succeeded in curbing wrong-side driving?
We have been successful on this front. There is a marked dip in the number of offenders in this case, not only across the city but under our jurisdiction, even beyond municipal limits. Besides, we are using jammers in cases of wrong parking also; this has prevented people from parking indiscriminately. We have noticed that compliance culture is poor among the people.
What is your take on helmets in view of the opposition from certain quarters in Pune city?
Helmets are an essential part of riding two-wheelers. People who don’t use helmets should meet the families of those who have lost their lives or those who suffered injuries. Then they will realise the importance of helmets. I, for one, do not understand the logic behind opposing helmets. No one should oppose helmets. It is for their own safety. No flimsy excuses should be trotted out.