Wear a helmet, PLEASE!

Posted: December 2, 2009 in Pune Police
Tags: ,

Pune Mirror has launched a campaign for the use of crash helmets. It’s an excellent move and I completely endorse it. Every day there is a death on the roads of someone riding without a helmet and the numbers are rising.
Irresponsible two-wheeler riders have made life difficult on the roads for those who believe in diligently following traffic rules. Unfortunately, it seems like the Traffic Police has done nothing much except for the customary fines, which has only helped in making the Traffic Police richer. The chaos on the streets has increased with no one really caring too much about the danger they pose.
As a youngster I too loved speed and fast bikes. I too loved to go whizzing in and out of traffic. The thing is I last rode a two-wheeler in Pune, eleven years ago and the traffic wasn’t anything like it is today. I also don’t remember breaking a traffic rule, except maybe an odd parking ticket. Today I find vehicle owners, both two and four-wheelers, not really caring about where and how they park, and even worse, overtaking from the left, as if it’s the most natural thing to do.
Some months ago the Pune Police Commissioner Satyapal Singh remarked that the RTO was handing out licenses to kill because most vehicle owners did not know even the basic traffic rules. For example, they were NOT EVEN AWARE that overtaking from the left was a traffic offence!
Some twenty years ago, a friend who saw me ‘taking off’ from one of intersections the minute the light turned orange (yes in those the traffic lights were red, orange and green) remarked nastily “you don’t ride, you fly really low.” But even those days I wore a helmet and never hit anyone or was ever involved in an accident. I guess I was lucky. Others were not so lucky.
A friend, who was passionate about bikes and loved tinkering with them, lost his life when he hit the dividers on the road between Lulla Nagar and Golbar Maidan. He wasn’t wearing a helmet. Another friend almost died when he was speeding towards Chandni Chowk and went for a toss after his motorcycle hit a speed-breaker. Apart from the fact that he was without a helmet, he was also ‘high’. The doctors at the hospital refused to give him painkillers till his alcohol level came down and I remember him screaming in agony. I wondered then, whether reckless driving was worth it.
So let’s support this Pune Mirror initiative. I know what some people will say, that the paper is doing this to increase its circulation. My reply is ‘So what? As long as it can help to solve a problem, I don’t care’ As Mother Teresa said once when someone accused her of cavorting with dictators, while getting funds for her charity, “I’ll shake hands with the devil, if it helps my charity.”
I know we can’t do much about the burgeoning traffic on the city’s roads, but at least we can make it safe for everyone, vehicle owners and pedestrians alike. If Mumbai’s streets can have order with the mass of vehicles, why can’t Pune? All it takes is a little discipline. It’s time we showed it.

  1. Nilesh Sane says:

    Helmets are a necessity. I dont wear one (even after my accident) and I am not particularly proud of that.Its the wind in my hair syndrome, I think, but it could very soon turn to wind in my head.Been contemplating on buying a new one for myself, I think this initiative is just the nudge I needed to get it.

  2. TeNsEiGa To Me says:

    My brother's classmate lost his life earlier this year – bike accident.15-16 year-old kids…this boy gets on his bike, takes a pillion and they go for booking movie tickets…'zooming' away on a crowded lane…suddenly they notice the traffic is too much ahead and this bus comes in from behind. they lose control, fall off the bike. the boy driving falls to the right and before he could get up, a car hits him…he doesn't die because of that: the bus behind them ran over him after the car hit him. that was very bad…as in, it was their 10th farewell party and everything…I cant stand it when stupid, foolish bikers just whizz past you, no helmet on, headphones plugged into their ears, one hand cell phone…God, if only they knew…and so true sir, if it helps the cause, what does it matter whether or not the newspaper is making a gain out of it…

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