JUST OVER a month after helmets were made compulsory for those riding two-wheelers in Gujarat, the state government on Wednesday decided to make it voluntary “within the limits of municipalities and municipal corporations”, citing “huge resentment” and “aggressive representations” from those opposed to the rule.
In a press release late in the evening, the government clarified that the decision meant that the rule mandating wearing of the helmet while riding two-wheelers (as contained in the amended Motor Vehicles Act) was temporarily suspended in the limits of municipalities and municipal corporations.
When contacted after the release was issued, State Transport Minister RC Faldu told this paper that the government “temporarily suspended the compulsory use of helmet within urban areas”.
Earlier, announcing the decision after a Cabinet meeting, Faldu said helmets would still be compulsory on national highways, state highways and panchayat roads.
“Our transport department and the government was of the opinion that in order to check loss of human lives due to head injuries sustained in road accidents, helmets should be compulsory and people should be disciplined… However, the way in which aggressive representations came from cities… huge resentment is also being witnessed on social (media) sites… Due to all those reasons, the issue came up before the Cabinet. And it was decided at the Cabinet meeting that from today, use of helmets in the limits of municipalities and municipal corporations will be voluntary,” he said.
“We were receiving many complaints… Some people asked where to put the helmet while going to buy vegetables, (some) people (were) forced to wear the helmet even while going to attend funerals… After holding detailed discussions, the state government has taken this decision today,” said Faldu.
Both the BJP and Congress hailed the state government’s decision.