On the other day, I saw a “Mobile Court” near Malar Hospital, Adyar. There was a big queue of bike riders waiting outside the court to pay the fine (for violation of “helmet wearing” rule).
I’m a strong supporter of wearing helmet while riding a bike. Once, I escaped from head injury thanks to my helmet. Mostly, I wear helmet irrespective of the police checks. However, the above mentioned “Mobile Court” scenario raised a question – “In a country like ours where there are numerous law & order issues and the police-citizen ratio is low, and lakhs of civil cases are pending in courts – is it really necessary for the police and judicial workforce to focus their energy on helmet-wearing adherence?”
Please don’t mistake me that I’m against the safety of road users. In my opinion, the safety of road users should be monitored by the police on the scenarios such as-
- Drunken driving
- Rash driving
- Signal jumping
- Road Racing
- Unlicensed driving
- Driving “bad/poor” conditioned vehicles
In other words, any type of driving that might cause harm to broader set of road users should be monitored and violations should be seriously dealt with. But, actions such as “helmet-wearing” which would cause harm to the individual (rather than fellow road users) should be left to the choice of the individual (of course, government can spend money and energy on creating awareness on safety methods). If someone without a helmet falls on the road, he’s the one who’s going to face the consequence and not the other road users. And, accidents are not caused due to non-wearing of helmet; it’s only a safety measure to save from loss of life/major injuries during an accident that’s caused by some other reason. Given this, the citizens should take responsibility to use helmets and save themselves.
It’s high time the relevant authorities looked into this and divert energy for larger issues in hand.