Crash helmets save lives, and here’s the clearest proof of why anyone on a two wheeler – be it a bicycle, motorcycle or a scooter – needs to wear a crash helmet. The video below shows a moped rider somewhere in South Asia trying to overtake a truck through a narrow gap between the truck and the pavement.
Why this video now? There are people in India who stubbornly refuse to wear helmets for any number of reasons, ranging from ruining hairstyle to fears about spinal injury. But the benefits of wearing one absolutely cannot be denied, and this video is ultimate proof that sometimes, all that stands between you and death or horrible injury is a good helmet.
— Raj Tilak Roushan, IPS (@rtr_ips) January 10, 2019
The moped rider makes contact with the pavement and loses balance, and falls in between the wheels of the heavy vehicle. The rear wheel of the truck drives right over the man’s head, which fortunately has a crash helmet on it. The man gets up and walks away.
Such situations play out almost everyday on roads around the world. In India, which has the most dangerous roads in the world in terms of the sheer number of fatalities each day, tens of people lose their lives in two wheeler accidents, mainly due to head injuries. A crash helmet helps prevent such injuries, and maximizes the chance of survival.
Coming back to the accident in question, the two wheeler rider tried to squeeze through a narrow gap, and this was his biggest mistake. While overtaking a heavy vehicle, it’s important to maintain adequate distance. Drivers of heavy vehicles such as trucks and buses often fail to see small traffic such as two wheelers and pedestrians due to massive blind spots. The onus therefore is on the person who is overtaking (in this case the moped rider) to stay out of trouble rather than the truck driver.
But people in India are still protesting against helmets!
Just the other week, a bunch of citizens in Pune, led by local politicians, conducted a ‘funeral’ for a crash helmet in protest against the rule that makes wearing a crash helmet compulsory for two wheeler riders. According to these protesters, the crash helmet causes 1. Baldness 2. Neck pain and 3. Lack of rearward visibility 4. Discomfort in hot weather.
The protesters also added that helmets are not required at low, city speeds, and that the government should instead focus on improving road infrastructure rather than ‘inconveniencing’ citizens with the helmet rule. The video above challenges the logic of the anti-helmet protesters. Clearly, the moped rider falls under the truck at a low speed, and if not for a helmet, would have simply been crushed to death.
Choosing the right helmet!
By now, you would have realized that a helmet is something that’s a vital part of safety kit while riding a two wheeler. Choosing the right helmet is very important as wearing a wrong sized/low quality helmet will not offer the same level of protection as a high quality, snug fitting helmet.
- While buying a helmet, ensure that you opt for one that has ISI marking on it. Also, stick to reputed helmet brands. The ISI marking on a reputed brand of helmet ensures that the helmet can actually withstand the forces that an accident generates and save the head from injury.
- The fit of the helmet is equally critical. The protective cushioning inside the helmet, which absorbs the force of an impact, along with the helmet’s hard exterior shell, compresses over time. This is why you need to buy a helmet that fits snugly onto your head. It should neither be too loose, or too tight. It’s best that you try out multiple helmets for fit before buying one.