When will the Traffic Police act?

Posted: February 1, 2011 in traffic rules
Tags: , ,

Another young life was snuffed out late last night – this one a cousin of my student – when a 21 year-old youth was thrown off the bike he was riding pillion on, when the bike collided against a bus. Every day, one picks up the newspaper and reads about two-wheeler riders being killed and the last line in the report invariably reads: The deceased was not wearing a crash helmet.

How many lives have been lost on the city’s roads to reckless driving either by the victim or the offender, is now beyond count. What was the fault of the kid sitting pillion on a two-wheeler, who lost his life? Whether it was the bus driver’s fault or the two-wheeler rider’s is really secondary now isn’t it? The young man who lost was just another victim of poor road sense and the fact that he didn’t have on a crash helmet.

A year or so ago, the local tabloid launched a huge campaign for the use of crash helmets, but like all other campaigns in this regard, this one too fell by the wayside and died a silent death. Aren’t crash helmets mandatory in so many other cities in the country? So, who is opposing this move so vehemently and why?

I joined a Facebook page launched by the Pune Traffic Police because I thought that they were finally doing something. Two months later I left the site in disgust, because all I saw on the page was how much money they had collected in fines in a week or a month, or grand moves for a new logo or something equally inconsequential. There seemed to be no effort by them to implement traffic rules or even bring about some semblance of order in the city’s traffic. They seemed to be on a grand PR exercise.

For example they had a drive to stop the use of fancy number plates and a couple of weeks ago I saw a report in the Pune Mirror which showed pictures of fancy number plates still in existence on cars owned by politicians or their friends. So basically the rules were not for the rich and influential. I also read that the traffic police had stated that they could not impose the helmet rule in the city. Why? They have no answers.

Pune has been voted the most accident-prone city in the country, when it comes to two-wheelers. Yet the administration has refused to make crash helmets mandatory. What stops them – a lack of will or pure indifference? Or are they waiting for the child of a VIP to get killed before they take action?

I have myself been involved in two-wheeler crashes and not every time was it my fault. But I survived only because of my helmet. Once it was right in front of Mobos opposite Wadia College. A friend and I were on our way to the airport on a scooter and we were hit from the rear by a speeding jeep trying to overtake a PMT bus which was behind us. We both fell off, and while he managed to get up quickly I couldn’t and rolled towards the oncoming bus. Fortunately for me the bus driver applied his brakes. Both of us had on helmets and I’d like to think it saved our lives as we hit the road.

Not a day goes by without my car being either nudged or bumped into by some two-wheeler rider. It has now come to a stage where I have to drive at below 40 kmph at most times because that a*****e (and I’m sorry there’s no other word to describe the errant rider or driver) is too busy either impressing his girl friend, chatting on his mobile phone or cutting lanes, without bothering about the traffic around him.

Flirting with death can only bring about one result. Why wait for that happen?

  1. Chandran says:

    You’re right !! People who ride bikes without a helmet are flirting with death.
    One of the arguments I hear is that it’s too hot in India to wear a helmet.
    But when hot tropical countries like M’sia , Singapore and Indonesia impose the helmet rule, why can’t India also do so ? Or is a person’s life so cheap in India ??

  2. H V Kumar says:

    I have no sympathy for those who do not wear helmets. I have never ridden a mobike without a helmet. My pillion riders too have always worn a helmet. I have escaped certain head damage when I was involved in at least one very serious mobike accident 21 years ago and survived intact only because of my helmet, and have escaped unscathed on many other occasions in minor mishaps.

    There is no point in blaming the law-makers and law-enforcers when the mobiker himself does not think that he has anything to protect in his head!

    At least in Bombay, I find the Police gleefully extorting money from mobikers who do not wear helmets – a very strong deterrent. But for every rider who wears the helmet, there are at least 2 others who wear fake helmets and don’t even strap up their helmets!

    My only anxiety is that if a mobiker perishes in a minor accident because he was not wearing a helmet, the hapless larger vehicle who was the other party to the accident – and in most cases, it is the mobiker’s fault, the way they cut and dodge their way through traffic as though death has been suspended – is always held at fault..

    I believe that life insurance and mediclaim insurance companies should stop honouring claims where a mobiker was found to be involved in an accident without wearing a helmet. And the law-enforcers should not take cognisance of accidents involving mobikers without helmets and give the benefit of doubt to the larger vehicle instead of pusihing him for “rash” and “negligent” driving? How can the larger vehicle be is guilty when the mobiker does not value his own head?

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