New Delhi: 60,000 women two-wheeler riders fined for not wearing helmets

New Delhi: In just 35 days, close to 60,000 women two-wheeler and pillion riders in the capital have been issued traffic tickets for not wearing helmets, data from the Delhi Police has reveals. Sustained efforts by the police and general awareness have slowly brought the numbers down.

An amendment to the Delhi Motor Vehicle Rules has made it mandatory for women to wear helmets while riding two-wheelers.

As per the Delhi transport department, 576 people riding two-wheelers died on the roads of Delhi in 2012. The amendment was made to bring this figure down.

Following the amendment, the Delhi Police’s traffic department launched a drive Sep 10 and violators all over the city were prosecuted. Sikh women have been exempted from this rule on religious grounds.

A total of 58,826 tickets were issued between Sep 10 and Oct 14 to women bikers and scooterists and pillion riders not wearing helmets.

The maximum fines were issued from the western range (19,343) followed by the southern range (14,159), central range (11,401), northern range (11,079) and the eastern range (2,844).

According to Joint Commissioner of police Anil Shukla, sustained efforts by the police to fine the violators and a campaign to spread awareness about the safety of wearing helmets have gradually brought about a change in the attitude of the people.

“More and more people are now complying with the rule and there has been a dip in the number of challans being issued daily as compared to the initial days when the drive was launched,” Shukla told IANS.

Another officer said people should realise that the helmets are for their own safety and they should follow this rule like they did with seats belts in car.

“The women must understand that it (rule) is for their own safety. Head is one of the most sensitive body parts and helmets do save lives,” an officer said.

Another officer of the traffic police department said that around 4,000 people were being fined every day when the drive was launched.

“I would like to believe that people are realising the importance of helmets but even if they don’t they know that they can’t escape being fined so they have no other choice,” said the officer requesting anonymity.

The fact that Delhi Police no longer deputes special teams to catch the offenders, is proof of the increasing compliance with the rule, the officer added.

As per the rule, helmets should either be full or open face and must conform to ISI standards, failing which the violator is liable to pay a Rs.100 fine.

While the transport department may have exempted the Sikh women from wearing helmets on religious ground, the traffic police personnel deployed on the ground often find themselves in a spot while trying to implement the rule.

According to them, numerous violators claim to be Sikh to escape the fine.

“We usually don’t stop women riding pillion with a Sikh but on numerous occasions many female violators, when caught, claim that they are Sikh,” said a constable near Mandir Marg in central Delhi.

“But when we ask them to show an identity card, they sheepishly agree to pay the fine,” added the officer.

Another officer posted near Green Park in south Delhi has come across excuses like they were not aware of the law or the helmets available in the market were not comfortable, or that they were not trendy and colourful.

Some even said they can’t wear one as it would ruin their hairstyle.