Helmets Make Sense Only On Highways, Busy Roads!

Girish Bapat, BJP MLA, Kasba , Pune  & CAG chairman, Maharashtra said, “ Principally helmets provide protection and save lives. But the question is, where and when do we need it?  What difference will a helmet make in pockets like Mandai, Laxmi Road and Narayan Peth? Given the number of traffic signals and congestion, the effective average speed of vehicles in these areas according to the Transport Commission is no more than 12 to 15 km per hour. A helmet serves no practical purpose in such conditions.”
Trucks, dumpers or trailers are completely banned within the main city areas. So, the threat perception to two-wheelers from heavy vehicles is completely ruled out. The other issue is the inconvenience of carrying a helmet around. Old two-wheelers, and there are plenty in Pune, have no facility to hang them. Mr. Bapat said, “In view of all these practical difficulties, I am sure the city police will not go all out in implementing the use of helmets too aggressively.”
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Why Do People Hate Helmets?

People think that, a helmet is an inconveniently shaped object which is difficult to lug around when one is not wearing it. Women are more averse to wearing helmets since helmets are heavy and long hours of usage often result in pain in the neck and shoulder area. Full-face helmets are heavy and women find them burdensome to carry. Most manufacturers make only one size, which does not fit all heads. Carrying a helmet into a classroom, market, restaurant or even a public toilet is inconvenient. There is hardly any provision in public spaces to deposit your helmet and collect it on your way out. Good quality helmets, which are made of tougher but lighter material, are expensive. The inner lining of most helmets is not washable, leading to accumulation of fungus and bacteria, which can cause a scalp infection. There is no governmental regulation or control over manufacture and sale of sub-standard helmets.
Government must exempt or reduce taxes on helmets. Government must give incentives to two-wheeler buyers to buy helmets along with the bike. Insurance companies must insist on helmets to settle claims arising out of head injuries. Greater awareness has to be created about the fact that majority of road accident deaths are due to head injuries caused by not wearing helmets. Celebrities and iconic public figures must promote helmets. Those who do not wear helmets since it spoils their hairstyles should know that they won’t have a hairstyle if they don’t have a head!

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Helmet rule in Pune Cantonment takes the slow lane

The first day of the implementation of compulsory helmet rule within the Pune Cantonment Board (PCB) limits witnessed unusual scenes as two-wheeler riders wearing helmets were given roses and riders without helmets were given caution notes by army personnel and schoolchildren. Col (GS) RS Sharma of Pune sub-area said that they handed out around 10,000 caution notes on first day of implementation.
The students of Kendriya Vidyalaya, Southern Command, also participated in the campaign enthusiastically. They told the helmetless riders that there is somebody waiting for them at home and we asked them to take care of themselves by wearing a helmet. People also gave a positive response to their campaign and agreed to wear helmets.
The local military authority (LMA) deployed military police with quick response teams at various junctions including Council Hall signal, Rajendra Sinhji Institute (RSI) junction and Ghorpadi police chowky, where they, along with the traffic police and students of Kendriya Vidyalaya, spoke to two-wheeler riders and urged them to use helmets for their own safety. However, a lot of people were seen riding without helmets in areas like MG Road, PCB office and Solapur Bazar that are not covered by the LMA. When asked why some areas in the PCB were not covered by the LMA, Col Sharma said, “At present, we are concentrating on military areas, but soon we will be covering other areas in the Cantonment as well. We will create awareness about using helmets till Thursday, and after that not a single two-wheeler rider would be allowed to enter the Cantonment area unless he/she wears a helmet.”

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Pune Sub Area flashes safety card

The Pune Sub Area (PSA) authorities are firm about introducing the compulsory helmet rule for two-wheeler and pillion riders in the Pune Cantonment area from September 1. The PSA has justified its decision to introduce the helmet rule on the grounds that road accidents in the Pune Cantonment area have gone up significantly in the recent years and many victims of these accidents are two-wheeler riders. The prime argument in favors of wearing of helmets is that it can save lives.
“We are doing it for the safety of the people and this need to be recognized and supported by them. It is not about why the army should get into enforcing the helmet rule but, as a station commander, it is our responsibility to look after the safety of each and every person transiting through the cantonment area. After all, it is also for the safety of the people opposed to the helmet rule and their children,” said Brig M S Jaswal, deputy general officer commanding of the PSA.
Those opposing the rule say that the cantonment area is too small compared to the larger area under the Pune Municipal Corporation. People transiting through the cantonment areas to the eastern suburbs, will be inconvenienced due to the helmet compulsion.
Jaswal said, “We expect some problems in the initial phase when the rule will be enforced, but that should not take away the goodness of the move. The PSA had announced the plan well in advance as part of sensitising people and creating greater awareness about wearing helmets. We have started with distribution of pamphlets in the cantonment areas and will step up our awareness drive in the days ahead.”

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Save the Pain, Cover the Brain !

Helmets are meant for protecting your head and life but it can also be the cause for your pain. Spinalogy Clinic founder Dr Kiran Shete claimed that an analysis of 100 neck pain patients revealed that 28% of them were regular helmet users. The orthopedic doctor added that the problem was most common in patients who travelled for more than 45 minutes at a stretch.
Since helmet usage has now become compulsory in cantonment areas, it is important for people to choose the right kind of helmets. Most of the patients suffered from chronic neck pain because of wrong usage, choice and fitting of helmets. In such patients, simply replacing their old helmet with a good fitting one and teaching a few basic stretching neck exercises made pain disappear completely. Often a midsize helmet was bought by us that family members could share. The people reported sharing helmets Instead of buying a helmet of proper size. This forces one to adjust the balance of helmet more aggressively especially on bumpy roads of Pune which creates lot of pressure on neck. Heavy and fancy helmets were found to be unnecessary burden on neck. A few people were also found to wear excessively tight helmets that blocked blood circulation and put pressure on neck muscles.
Shete said that the simple way to avoid such chronic neck pain is knowledge of proper helmets. The helmets must be lightweight, have proper ventilation as excessive sweating can lead to rashes, check aerodynamic or ideal fit of helmet. It should have a clear face shield view and always buy a branded ISI mark helmet.

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Spreading awareness about helmets to save lives

Nearly 150 bikers have been caught by the Pune city traffic department over the past nine months for not wearing helmets. The figure has been showing only an upward trend if the past few years’ data is taken into consideration. Any action has not been able to reign in the number of deaths of bikers riding without helmets. This year, the number stands at 129 deaths, which means one biker has died every two days.

Forced to rethink its strategy in curbing such accidents, the Pune Regional Transport Office (RTO), along with the Pune Cantonment, has thought that only awareness would convince bikers of the significance of wearing helmets while on roads.

Hence, under the Street Sense Programme, the Pune Bikers Group (PBG), along with RTO and the Pune Cantonment will be starting helmet awareness drive for two-wheeler riders, as they believe that spreading awareness will help to reduce the number of deaths in road accidents.

Deputy regional transport officer said that they will be starting a special awareness programme under the Street Sense Programme, where they will be spreading message about the importance of wearing helmets. Most of the people feel that wearing helmet is an added burden which actually is a life saver. They will be starting the special drive in the Pune Cantonment area from October 18. There will be more than 100 volunteers from the Pune Bikers Group who will help them in creating awareness amongst citizens. Moreover they will be giving token of appreciation to those who are abiding the rule.

On the other hand, the Pune city traffic police department is trying their best to spread awareness about wearing helmet, but people’s indifference is costing them their life. The traffic police department claims that they are doing their best to spread awareness, they have also distributed helmets and held various awareness camps in housing societies and schools. Still only 20% of the motorbike riders use helmets.

Deputy commissioner of police (traffic) said, wearing helmet is compulsory. They have been taking action against riders who don’t use helmets. They have inadequate manpower therefore, they are unable to intensify the drive as their main priority is to ensure that the traffic flow is smooth in the city.

They further added, Spreading awareness is the key so that maximum number of people can start wearing helmets. They have held several awareness programmes at various locations in the city so people realize that using helmets will only save their lives.

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PMC will gift 2,500 cycles to students

Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has allocated Rs.1 crore for purchasing 2,500 bicycles for students of civic schools. The initiative will not only promote cycling in the city but also benefit students.

The students are expected to get the new bicycles for free by February next year. In 2010, PMC had decided to provide free bus passes to students to promote the use of public transport. With Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited (PMPML) facing financial crunch, the civic administration will now gift bicycles to students.

PMC store department head said that, PMC has sanctioned Rs.1 crore for the purchase of 2,500 bicycles for boys and girls. Tenders will be floated after the Diwali vacations and they were planning to start distribution of cycles by end of January or early February next year.

Cycles will be provided to students studying in standard VII-X. All the over 10,000 students studying in these classes in municipal schools will not be getting the cycles. PMC said that, only those students whose homes are more than two kilometres from their schools will be eligible.

Source: dnaindia, Nov’13

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