The Transport Commissioner on Wednesday issued a letter to all the regional and joint-regional transport officers in Kerala to impose a ban on holding umbrellas while riding a two-wheeler. It is a safety hazard and the department has issued a warning against using the umbrellas while riding a two-wheeler.
As it is the rainy season in Kerala, the instances of two-wheeler riders using open umbrellas have gone up. This leads to accidents due to the high-speed winds and other distractions. Umbrellas can cause distraction but more importantly, they are extremely dangerous to hold and sit on a two-wheeler due to the non-aerodynamic design. Against high-speed winds, the umbrella can work on the same principle as parachutes and can pull the person holding it with extreme force.
Umbrellas can kill you
With the rainy season, high-speed winds have also become common in the state. With the open umbrella and flowing wind, it can lead to dangerous results. If the motorcycle is going against the wind, the speed of wind felt by the person on the motorcycle will be much higher.
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For example, if a motorcycle is travelling against the direction of the wind at about 50 km/h and the speed of the wind is even 30 km/h, the person sitting on the motorcycle will feel the wind speed is 50 plus 30, which becomes 80 km/h. With an umbrella in hand, a wind speed of 80 km/h can easily pull a person and disbalance the two-wheeler causing an accident.
The MVD will keep a close eye on anyone using an umbrella and will issue a challan. Also, MVD will create awareness among the motorists to ensure that people do not use umbrellas.
Woman fell holding an umbrella
Last month a 52-year old woman from Kerala fell from a motorcycle after she tried opening the umbrella while her son was riding the motorcycle. The lady sustained severe head injuries and later succumbed to her injuries.
The incident happened early in the morning when the lady Geethakumari was travelling to work. Due to the rain, she tried opening the umbrella. High-speed winds caused the umbrella to sway to the opposite lane. By the time her son regained the balance of the motorcycle, she fell from the bike and received fatal injuries on her head.
Wear safer waterproof clothes
A much safer way to travel in such situations is to use waterproof clothing like a raincoat or a poncho. Raincoats that are designed for riding have elastics on the end of the arms that ensure that air does not enter the raincoat and causes a similar effect. Raincoats and waterproof riding jackets are much safer to use on two-wheelers.
In fact, many people travel with a sheet of plastic over their heads during the rainy season. Even that can create a similar effect as the umbrellas and can disbalance the person riding the two-wheeler.
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