The police will neither confiscate helmets without the ISI mark nor fine riders wearing them. A drive to penalise motorists using helmets without the ISI mark was to begin on February 1.
The Bureau of Indian Standards provides the ISI mark to helmets that conform to its safety specifications. R Hithendra, Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic), Bengaluru, recently wrote to the bureau, seeking a clarification on how to make out whether a helmet conforms to safety standards.
In its reply, the bureau said the safety of helmets could not be ascertained with mere visual examination.
"Our men cannot decide on the standard of helmets by merely looking at them," Hithendra told DH. "It would be unfair to penalise riders when we can't distinguish between standard and substandard."
Legal procedures call for examining helmets if they are confiscated. "This means the helmets have to be sent to the manufacturer," he said.
Manufacturers get ISI certification only if they follow a stringent testing and inspection process. Conformity to ISI standards cannot be determined by visual examination, the letter said.
But be safe
The police recommend good-quality helmets that can save riders from injury and death. From February 1, they were planning a campaign against half-helmets (those that only cover part of the head) and helmets made from light material that provide no crash protection.
Many imported brands carry no ISI stamp, and the police had decided they would allow only those with the certification.
What bureau said
It is not possible to judge the quality of a helmet just by looking at it, the Bureau of Indian Standards has told the Bengaluru police.
The bureau stamps helmets with the ISI mark if they conform to its safety specifications.