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Andhra Pradesh: Helmets to rule roads

Published Aug 1, 2015, 8:56 am IST
Updated Mar 28, 2019, 8:41 am IST
Helmet vendors make a fast buck as state made it mandatory
Representational image
 Representational image
Rajahmundry: All is set for implementation of ‘Helmet Rule’ as part of a state wide programme in Godavari districts from August 1.
Both the police and transport authorities are going to intensify their joint drive to enforce the Helmet Rule by asking the riders of two wheelers to wear it without fail while riding them as such move ensures protection to their lives. Nearly seven lakh two wheelers ply in East Godavari. Last year, as many as 750 persons were killed in road accidents in which 300 persons were riders or pillion riders of two wheelers. 
The authorities say that if the riders and their pillion riders wear the helmets especially while riding the two wheelers on national and state highways, it helps save the lives of a minimum of 200 persons. They say that in most of the accident cases, either rider or pillion rider or both fall down suffering mainly head injury and even before medical assistance reaches them, they breath their last due to loss of blood.
They advise the riders and others to wear helmet for self-protection and exhort them not to wear them just because they will be penalised by the law enforcing authorities. Though the Central Motor Vehicle Act enforces the Helmet Rule from July 1, 1989 in the country, the successive governments failed to implement it strictly for varied reasons be it lack of adequate personnel to enforce the rule or lack of adequate number of availability of helmets in the market and even if they are available, non-affordability by a section of people hailing from poor background.
However, both the police and transport authorities have come up with a series of guidelines based on the provisions of MV Act to enforce law along with helmet rule from Saturday onwards. 
The law enforcing authorities are finding a series of lapses on the part of motorists over a period of time and a majority of the lapses include: riding or driving vehicles without having valid licence, no insurance coverage, no pollution check and other violations including triple or quadruple riding in case of bikes, not wearing seat belts in case of personal vehicles, overload in case of commercial vehicles and a common issue of speaking over mobile phone while riding or driving vehicles.
Deputy transport commissioner A. Mohan said, “We appeal to motorists to strictly follow the road safety norms to ensure safetyfor self and to other road users.” Joint teams of police and transportpersonnel will be on the move to implement the safety norms includingthe Helmet Rule strictly."
Last minute purchase turns a boon
With the urban police making it mandatory to wear helmets from August 1, helmet vendors in town, including shops owners are minting money, cashing in on the mad rush to buy. The vendors on pavements are selling non-ISI brand helmets at Rs 800 to Rs 1,000 where as it costs below Rs 500. By compromising on quality and cost, two wheeler riders are buying to escape fines by the police. On Friday, the purchase of helmets went on till the last hour of selling. There was also heavy demand for branded helmets.
Urban district SP Gopinath Jetti made wearing of helmets compulsory from August 1 for two wheeler riders and alerted riders that penalties will be collected on the spot if found driving without helmets. He urged two wheeler owners to wear helmets for the sake of their safety and said it is being implemented as part of the Road Safety Act. After this decision by the police, two wheeler riders are rushing to buy helmets.
Mr Shanmugam, a vendor near Balaji Colony circle, said he purchased in bulk nearly 1,000 helmets from a factory in Tamil Nadu and would sell at different place in the town. He said the minimum profit would be approximately Rs 100 to Rs 300 per helmet depending on demand.
Mr Subrahmanyam, working as a police constable in Tirupati, said he bought a helmet for his son for Rs 850 on which the ISI mark is printed but was not sure whether the ISI mark was genuine.
An engineering student from Bengaluru, Mr Naveen, residing in Sheshadri Nagar near M.R. Palli said the price of helmets being sold on road side and in some shops in the town would be around Rs 300 only in Bengaluru and the vendors procure it from manufacturers at that price and are making huge profits.
Location: Andhra Pradesh