Mangaluru: Even though the compulsory use of helmet by pillion-riders while on a two-wheeler came into effect on 12 January 2016 as per Supreme Court orders, but the government and traffic law enforcement officials had decided to take it easy on those pillion riders who did not wear helmet by not imposing fine on them for few days, till everyone was aware of the new helmet rule in Karnataka State. As of 12 January both the rider and the pillion rider of the two- wheelers are suppose to wear helmets in the state. Although the rule had been implemented in Karnataka, only a few pillion riders were seen wearing helmets in Bengaluru and Mangaluru, while many others didn’t bothered about the new rule or probably were not aware of the new rule.
Pillion riders below the age of 12 are exempted from wearing helmets- the reason behind this, small size helmets to fit this age category are not available in the market at present. In the meantime, the Transport Department officials are working to find a way that helmets are manufactured to cater to the needs of these underage children. According to sources, the State is in need of nearly 70 lakh helmets, and the appropriate sizes to meet the demand is very low. Although the Bengaluru Traffic Police had given enough time for two-wheelers to follow the new helmet rule, so on Wednesday, 20 January the traffic cops in the garden City cracked down on two-wheeler riders who were breaking the law.
Wednesday marked day one of the compulsory helmet rule for pillion riders being enforced across Bengaluru, and of course, the traffic police were out in droves, imposing fines on those found flouting the rule. From 8.30 am, police began conducting checks on major and arterial roads and intersections in the city, and the cops booked a total of 1,520 cases in both East and West divisions.” It appears our efforts to raise awareness about the mandate over the last 20 days have worked by and large. We are hoping for 100 per cent compliance from the public very soon,” had said Bengaluru City additional commissioner of police (traffic) M A Saleem.
It is learnt that ten teams of police officials as well as RTO officers – supervised by the two jurisdictional DCPs – were formed to take on violators; but the compliance rates were found to be 50-60 per cent. It was noted that all those who were caught paid up without a fuss; it was something out of the ordinary at few locations where the traffic police were reportedly catching offenders, but letting them off after advising them instead of fining them. The first offence will see violators being fined Rs 100; a repeat offence will be charged Rs 300; and third-time offenders will be sent to court with a recommendation that their driver’s license be suspended.
The Supreme Court must be thanked for directing state governments to implement the new helmet rule. Without giving any silly excuses, both the riders and pillion riders should wear helmets for their safety. Life is more precious, so obeying the traffic laws will make you live longer when you are on the road. It is learnt that enforcement of the rule will continue in Bengaluru, and soon in major cities in the State, and will get more stringent with each passing day. So two-wheeler riders in Mangaluru-watch out, our city traffic cops are all set to get you in the next few days if you don’t adhere to the new-helmet law.
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