Flouting the rule with impunity

Flouting the rule with impunity

utter disregard

Flouting the rule with impunity

Despite the many campaigns and awareness drives conducted by the Bangalore Traffic Police highlighting the importance of wearing a helmet, most people don’t think twice before flouting the rule.

Though they say they know the importance of wearing the protective gear, they still come up with their own explanations for not wearing one. The police claim that they are doing their bit to reinforce the helmet rule. But it looks like their efforts are all in vain.  
  People have their own reasons for not wearing a helmet. Abhilash BM, a final-year MBA student with RNS Institute of Technology says, “The excuses vary from person to person with the most common one being that a helmet spoils the hairstyle. It is funny how they don’t realise that it has to be worn for their own safety.” He adds that more traffic police needs to be deputed at prominent junctions to catch the offenders.

 “The fine amount should be increased to make an impact. Police should be strict and slap a fine without any bias,” he says. 

Explaining why people fear hair fall while wearing a helmet, Dr Josy Joy, a trichologist, says that wearing helmets could lead to a receding hairline. “There have been cases where excessive sweating, thanks to wearing a helmet for a long time, has led to an increased hair fall. One of the solutions for this is to wrap a cotton handkerchief around the head before wearing a helmet. This helps absorb the sweat,” he says.  Rahul Jain, a businessman, says that it’s not easy to wear a helmet for a long duration. “When one has to travel long distances like from Bannerghatta Road to Whitefield, it isn’t easy to wear a helmet for too long because it triggers a headache. It’s a relief to take the helmet off in such cases because even the ear starts to hurt after some time,” he says. But he concedes that the discomfort is only temporary when compared to the risk of not wearing a helmet. 

Most agree that this is a common sight in the interior parts of the City. “When going out for a short distance, most people don’t wear a helmet. They simply carry it on the handlebar of the bike or sling it around their arm so that they can wear it just in case they see a policeman,” says Ishika Gupta, a homemaker.

One has to care for oneself first to be able to care for others, says Dr Murthy C, a psychologist in Mathikere. “It’s surprising how there are both younger and older people who think it is adventurous and bold to not wear a helmet. It is only when you care for yourself that you will take care not to break the rules and hurt others,” says Dr Murthy.

The offence of ‘not wearing helmet when riding’ attracts a fine amount of Rs 100 as per the Motor Vehicle Act. Ask the Bangalore Traffic Police why the enforcement of the helmet rule is not as stringent as it should be and B Dayananda, Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic), says, “We have been conducting regular drives. But the change has to come at the individual level.

 Whenever someone is caught riding without wearing a helmet, they are fined. This fine is applicable even when they are not wearing an ISI branded helmet because that is equivalent to not wearing a helmet.” 

   The cases booked against people for not wearing a helmet have been on the rise in the last three years. There were 7,52,525 cases booked in 2012 and 8,21,575 cases in 2013. “This year, 6,72,873 cases have been booked (till August 31),” he informs.