The transport minister of Gujarat, R.C. Faldu has just announced that wearing a helmet while riding a two wheeler is ‘optional’ within city limits. Helmets will have to be worn by those using highways and village roads though. The helmet exemption only applies to municipal corporation and municipality limits. Meanwhile, here is the statement that the minister just made while announcing that helmet use for two wheeler riders was now optional on city roads, according to TheHindu,
We received many complaints regarding mandatory helmets within the city areas. So we decided to make it option only within the city areas.
So, what’s the logic for exempting two wheeler rides from wearing helmets within city limits?
According to the transport minister, people riding two wheelers within the cities don’t cover long distances. Meanwhile, Gujarat was one of the first states to heavily cut fines for various traffic offences under the new motor vehicles act after angry citizens protested the hefty fines. Gujarat was also the first state to exempt pillions riding two wheelers from wearing helmets.
According to the new motor vehicles act, both the rider and pillion must wear a helmet while traveling on a two wheeler. This is the global norm that is meant to protect the rider and pillion from life threatening head injuries that occur during two wheeler accidents. The head injury is the single biggest reason for two wheeler riders losing their lives in accidents, and also being rendered in a vegetative state after a major accident.
How has the Gujarat government then exempted riders and pillions from wearing helmets while riding two wheelers on on city roads?
Transport comes under the concurrent list, and this means that states (through their legislative assemblies) can amend the various provisions of the motor vehicles act. This is how the Gujarat government has been able to make changes to the motor vehicles act to cater to citizens’ whims and fancies, totally disregarding safety.
How does a helmet save you during a crash?
A well-made crash helmet is designed to absorb most of the impact when the rider’s head hits the road. This ensures that the rider does not suffer from a serious head injury, and in most cases, saves the rider’s life. Not wearing a helmet can have serious consequences in case of an accident. So, even if the Gujarat government allows you to ride helmet-less within city limits, for your own safety, do wear a helmet. It can save your life as head injuries are common even at speeds under 40 Kmph. Notably, most accidents that claim lives of two wheeler riders and pillions through head injuries occur in city limits.