Hyderabad: Even as awareness campaigns about helmets have increased of late, rigorous and mandatory enforcement is unlikely in the near future. “Creating awareness is a form of enforcement in itself,” said deputy transport commissioner (Enforcement) C. Ramesh.
“We have conducted a series of awareness campaigns to educate the public. Pamphlets have been distributed, videos streamed and around 30 to 40 programmes conducted across the 10 districts,” he said. The rule has been in cold storage for long and a stringent implementation of this is seen only inside the RTA premises where “no helmet, no entry” boards are put up.
Putting the onus of enforcement on the government, in September, the High Court had asked the transport authorities to submit a report about the steps taken to ensure the rule was enforced. However, apart from the campaigns, there is little of update on that front as most ride without helmet.
On the other hand, citizens are venting their ire on the Hyderabad Traffic Police Page about collection of fines during special drives by cops. They ask as to how the cops can fine sporadically when the rule is not made compulsory.
One Hemanth Kumar recently posted on the Hyderabad raffic Police page: “Has wearing helmets been made compulsory in Hyderabad? Why are the cops only checking at LB Nagar? Can’t find them anywhere else in Hyderabad.”
Confronted by the many such complaints on its Facebook page, Hyderabad Traffic Police has come up with a template reply for all, “Wearing Helmet is compulsory all over the country since 1988 when the Motor Vehicles Act 1988 was passed; it has been strictly enforced in Delhi and other major metro cities of India.
It was made compulsory in the city of Hyderabad, but was not enforced due to social backlash, and lack of political will.
But we recommend that everyone wear helmets for their own safety of life.”
Few stores sell helmets for kids
While the mandatory helmet rule for two-wheeler riders is a hot topic, hardly anything is mentioned about helmets for pillion riders, especially children.
In fact, hardly any store sells helmets for children. Except for the swanky expensive bicycle-helmets, the smaller-sized regular models aren’t available even in cities.
The Karnataka transport ministry had announced recently that “a helmet for the pillion” was a must and the government wasn’t considering a “grace period”. The state hasn’t proposed this for the first time, but enforcement got delayed due to local elections.
Meanwhile, two-wheeler riders in Hyderabad are confident that no such rule will be enforced in the immediate future.
They say it is impractical and will burn a hole in their pockets. “We understand it is all about safety. However, you can’t expect of me to buy one helmet for each member of my family. Children of all age-groups can’t be having a single size. A typical middle-class family might end up needing two-three helmets for kids alone,” said Syed Salauddin, a businessman.