SAFETY FIRST – Bikers’ groups emphasize on leaving homes with helmets

Helmets help save lives and the headgear must be treated as an indispensable part of the vehicle equipment, they said. Many recalled how the helmet has saved their lives. They ride Royal Enfield, Harley Davidson, Triumph and KTM and termed the resistance to wearing the headgear from two-wheeler riders as illogical and completely unfounded.

Based on statistics of twowheeler riders killed in road accidents in the city , Snehalkumar Bhavsar, co-founder of Kings Royal Riders-a group of 75 city-based owners of Royal Enfield bikes, said most fatalities are a result of the rider not wearing a helmet.

The group, along with their family members, undertook a rally through the city on Sunday to spread awareness about the importance of wearing a helmet. Banners and posters were stuck on the back of the riders as well as children to drive home the message.

The rally , organized with support from the Pune traffic police, started from Baner and ended at Deccan Gymkhana, passing through areas like Pune Camp, Regional Transport Office, Council Hall and Fergusson College Road.

On behalf of his group, Bhavsar said, “Most bikers meet with accidents and die because they did not follow safety rules. Many riders are reluctant to wear protective headgear while riding. All bikers must wear a helmet while riding. Life is dearer than our likes and dislikes.“

Bikers in our group are not allowed to join us for a ride un ess they wear complete safety gear, including the helmet, said Ashwin Deshpande, convener of Triumph Pune, a 200-mem ber group of owners of Tri umph bikes in the city .

“I don’t understand why so me people are resisting wea ring the helmet so much. Bi kers die because they did not wear a helmet. Some argue that hey find it difficult to carry it around, or lose their hair, or heir hairstyle goes awry when hey wear a helmet. Safety co mes first and certainly before all these excuses.“ He drew attention to the usual safety-related mistakes of bikers in the city. “I have seen many owners of two-wheelers remove the rear-view mirrors rom their vehicles to make the r bikes look stylish. But it is fo olish considering that it limits heir vision. These drivers also resist wearing the helmet argu ng that it impairs their judge ment of vehicles approaching hem from the sides or from the rear. There are also many ou here who try to imitate the way superbikes are driven or try to race with such a bike. They pro bably miss the crucial aspec that a person driving a superbike is fully protected by safety gear,“ Deshpande said.

The onus of getting youngsters to wear the helmet is on parents and college authorities, said Varad More, avid biker and member of Rubber Smoking Angels, a group of over 200 bikers in the city which conducts rallies every year on Republic Day and Independence Day to spread awareness about Road Safety .

“Use of helmets while riding a bike must be inculcated from the start. Probably making the helmet a condition for purchasing a bike, or making its usage mandatory for par king the vehicle on the premises of the college can help. More than enforcement, educating and informing bikers about the implications of not wearing a helmet will work better,“ he said.

More said many argue that they are on a short ride and thus no need for a helmet. “However, it is in such short distances that we become complacent. While the probability is low, the intensity of an accident, whenever it happens, is high. And when it does, the damage is serious and in many cases, cannot be reversed. The dangers and responsibility of riding a bike must always go together,“ he said.
Source : TOI

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