Bengaluru: Helmet must for pillion riders in Karnataka

Bengaluru: The State government on Monday issued an official gazette notification, making wearing of helmet by pillion riders on two-wheelers mandatory across the State, including Bengaluru City, with immediate effect.

But people may breathe easy as the enforcement authorities are not likely to crack the whip against violators for a few days.

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The helmet rule is applicable to all pillion riders, irrespective of age. Hitherto, helmets were mandatory for only riders of two-wheelers. The government action follows a stern directive by a Supreme Court appointed committee on road safety. The notification has been issued under Section 138 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 (Central Act).

“Every person while driving or riding (both for rider and pillion rider) a motor cycle of any type i.e., to say motor cycles, scooters and mopeds irrespective of brake horse power of the vehicle, within the limits of Karnataka State, shall wear protective headgear,” the notification stated.

Interestingly, the gazette notification has been predated to December 31, 2015 in order to avoid committing contempt of the Supreme Court. There was no clarity in the government on the date of implementation of the new rule.

Though the notification clearly states that the new rule will come into effect from the date of publication in the official gazette, Transport Commissioner Ramegowda said helmet wearing will be mandatory for pillion riders from January 11 onwards.

“The deadline set by the Supreme Court committee is January 10. The government will submit a compliance report to the committee in a day or two and inform it that the rule will come into effect from January 11 onwards,” he said.

The government had issued the draft notification on September 18, 2015, inviting objections and suggestions from the public within 30 days. But the government had been dragging its feet on issuing the final notification. An apex court panel headed by retired judge Justice K S Radhakrishnan had directed the government to enforce helmet rule for pillion riders starting January 1, 2016.

Official sources in the government said the committee had on December 28, 2015, written a letter to the government, warning it of initiating contempt proceedings if its direction was not implemented within a fortnight. The panel’s warning followed media reports that the government was planning to defer implementation of the rule till completion of the ZP, TP elections.

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