More than just a headgear

Safety Hazard

More than just a headgear

In the first five months of this year alone, Bangalore has witnessed an alarming total of 566 two-wheeler accidents, in which 61 persons died and 530 were injured.

A NIMHANS study, put together in 2008, had pointed out the various ways in which wearing a helmet can reduce the impact of collision in case of an accident; the thermocole lining inside helmets provides a cushioning effect to the skull, and the hard metal shell prevents sharp objects from piercing it. Helmets also serve as a mechanical barrier between the skull and the impacting object, which greatly reduces injury to the brain.

However, despite this, several two-wheeler riders in the City ignore the law and don’t bother to wear a helmet while driving. Although helmet usage has increased by twelve times in the period between 2005 and 2008, many of the helmets being used are either half helmets or damaged ones, which don’t provide adequate protection in the event of a crash.

Panner Selvean, who works as a manager at Vijaya Bank, says that he notices a majority of Bangaloreans wearing helmets while driving two-wheelers, although the same can’t be said for those riding pillion. “Some people are not happy using helmets as they can cause discomfort and neck pain, and in such cases, doctors may advise one not to wear them. Even lawyers, who are well aware about the regulations, often choose not to wear them for these reasons. But still, the police try and impose their conditions on people, which can be very inconvenient,” he says.

Ramya Venkatesh, a second year B Com student at Bangalore University, says that she has often noticed both the drivers of two-wheelers and those sitting pillion opting not to wear a helmet. There have been many occasions where she has seen policemen stop these riders and inspect their licences, although she believes that a simple bribe is enough to avoid any serious repercussions.

“I drive a two-wheeler and personally feel that helmets are very important for safety reasons. I always wear one myself. The full helmets can get very uncomfortable and heavy, though. So I prefer a half helmet,” she says.

Souvik, an engineer, also drives a two-wheeler and considers wearing a helmet a must. He adds that he does not find them uncomfortable or inconvenient in any way. “I have often noticed pillion riders not wearing helmets, and this is definitely a potential safety hazard. Sometimes, the police might catch them but often, they simply collect a fine and let the offender go without giving them a notice,” he says.

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