Nagpur: The Second Capital City of Nagpur is in grip of helmet phobia or say, helmet rule. The picture in roads, now a days, is different, ‘black’ could be an apt word. Wearing of helmet has become a must the day the High Court ordered the headgear mandatory following a PIL filed in this connection. Armed with the Court order, Traffic Police embarked on the “Mission Helmet” rather heavy handedly. The two-wheeler riders, out of fear of hefty fine and not as safety measure, have started lining up at horde of shops to have the helmet and use it as well.
The headgear must for pillion riders has sparked panic of sorts among the riders and cheers among the dealers. The sale of helmets has gathered steam. In fact, the stuff is being sold like hot cake. Forget the heavy demand for new helmets of reputed companies the old ones and inferior headgear have found place on the counters of dealers as well. Such is the helmet phobia.
The police diktat that wearing of any brand of helmet will not be sufficient. The brand should be of ISI mark is turning the heads uneasy. Police line of argument is that a branded helmet saves the rider from head injuries and subsequently the life. It is true that most of the accident victims die of head injuries. Hence the helmet. But according to the Bureau of Indian Standards, helmets of ISI mark are not that necessary. In fact the BIS says that helmet is not such a product that deserves an ISI mark. The stuff is not like any water products that warrant ISI mark for they are directly connected with the health of the users. The department has nothing to do with the ISI mark on the helmets.
The scientist and Head of the Department of Nagpur-based Bureau of Indian Standards said that if the department receives complaints regarding misuse of ISI mark then the department will initiate action against the concerned individual or dealers or authorities. In this background, now the question arises whether using helmet without ISI mark is illegal or legal. Can police enforce wearing of helmet mandatorily and also decide on the brand of the headgear?