United Bikers and Mangalore Central Bring Awareness on Road/Helmet Safety and DUI

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Mangaluru: The main mission of the organizers was to create awareness about Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol (DUI), safety gear, road safety and the importance of wearing a helmet to the passionate bikers in the city. Mangalore Central in association with United Bikers of Mangalore and Giving Tree Trust initiated this “Road Safety Campaign” on Sunday 24th May 2015 10.30 am. The flag off was done by Mangalore Central Store General Manager Mr.Prasanna in the premises of Forum Fiza Mall-Pandeshwar. The gang of bikers, who called themselves as “United Bikers” cruised around the city spreading awareness on Helmet safety and Don’t drink and drive. The bike rally proceeded through important city points, covering Hampankatta, Jyothi, Balmatta, Kankanady Pumpwell, Nanthoor Junction, Kadri park, KSRTC, Lalbagh, City centre and culminated back at Forum Fiza Mall. Eighty plus riders and pillion-riders took part in this awareness ride for a good cause. Suhan Alva compered the event.

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Speaking to Mangalorean.com, Sonali, the Marketing Manager for Mangalore Central said, ” With increasing accidents in the City , Mangalore Central thought of taking up this initiative and spreading the importance of wearing helmets while riding a two wheeler. The volunteers passed stickers with saying “Stay Safe and Wear a Helmet”and also pamphlets with information of road safety and use of helmet while riding. Also we are having a “Helmet Selfie competition” that is held in “Mangalore Meri Jaan” facebook page where you can upload your selfie wearing a helmet. You are required to have a Driving License to be eligible for this contest. One lucky winner will get exciting gifts from Mangalore Central, Forum Fiza Mall”.

From my perspective, while on a two-wheeler, the riders should follow all the necessary safety measures. There is a saying that encourages road safety, which goes: “When you are driving (or riding), think that your are the wisest person and all the others are fools.” It simply means that although you have taken all the care to drive/ride safe, some fool could easily make you a party to an accident. But this appears to have no relevance whatsoever to our City riders with the initially strictly enforced helmet-rule in the city losing steam. Two-wheeler riders are blatantly violating the rule, which was implemented with gusto couple years ago.

Those who do wear them while riding are violating the rule by adorning non-Indian Standards Institution (ISI)-marked helmets. Many riders who do carry ISI-marked helmets prefer to wear them on their elbows or the handle bars of their two-wheelers while riding, citing discomfort if it is worn on the head. Just wearing any kind of helmets will not serve the purpose- here is an example- “Few months ago, a bike rider was admitted to a private hospital in the city for an car-bike accident. He was wearing a helmet when he fell and that prevented his head from sustaining a direct hit. But he continued experiencing severe headaches and when doctors ran him through the tests they found a blood clot in his brain. This was because he was wearing a helmet of inferior quality. If he had worn a certified helmet, he could have prevented the clot too.” But our lovely traffic police are doing nothing about the violations. Instead, they themselves wear non-ISI marked half-helmets, which are not allowed as per the rule.

According to the website of The Personal Injury Lawyer Directory in the US, motorcycle helmets lessen the impact of hard surfaces that hit the head during an accident. “Helmets are designed to compress when struck, which decreases the severity of the impact by absorbing and dispersing force,” it states. This it does because helmets are constructed out of three main parts: the shell, liner, and interior. The shell is usually a hard plastic, designed to skid, prevent neck injuries, and deflect penetrating objects. The liner is the hard foam part of the helmet that compresses and takes most of the force in an impact. The interior is the soft padding that is designed to provide comfort and fit. However, not all these features are present in the half-helmets and the non-ISI helmets that are mostly worn by riders in the city. Many a times I have seen two-wheeler riders wearing safety helmets that are commonly used by workers at building construction or industrial sites-these are not helmets for riders, they are called “hard hats”?

I asked a young bike rider whether he uses the helmet always while riding, he replied, ” Although my helmet accompanies I wherever I ride my bike, it is seldom on my head while riding. I slide it on my head only at junctions where I am sure the traffic cops will be there.”- he admits with a smile. And I know that in many cases, the traffic cops do not move an inch even when such rule-violating bikers rode from right under their noses. These cops will be busy chatting on their mobile phones in a corner. Speaking to a traffic inspector who was following the bike rally, he said that at least 80% of the riders do follow the rule, while almost all carried helmets and wore them when they came close to traffic cops, preventing the latter from booking fines. “We have booked thousands against those not wearing helmets,” he said.

The riders must wear helmets that covers their faces. But, most of them wear helmets which don’t cover their faces. When they get into an accident, its not just head injury that can take place, riders should consider everything like the cheek bone, chin, nose, temple etc. But, many don’t do it. I would like to compliment Mangalore Central Team led by Sonali, Forum Fiza Mall, United Bikers and Giving Tree Trust for bringing awareness through this campaign on not just wearing helmets but also about the quality of helmets and the types of helmets that people should wear. And also stressing on motorists not to drink and drive. Hopefully, this time, this unique awareness project will bring a change in the attitude of the riders and drivers in “Namma Mangaluru”.

In conclusion, these United Bikers and rest of the organizers wanted to motivate people who ride from home to their workplace, college, Forum Fiza Mall, shopping at Mangalore Central, market etc to wear a ISI approved helmet, and not just a generic branded helmet. Yes, many two-wheeler owners may find the safety measures expensive, but if a mishap occurs, the basic MRI scan itself could cost you around Rs 8000-10,000, depending on the hospital you are admitted. Some riders complain that wearing helmets during summer feels hot and humid-but its better to sweat than bleed! Remember that prevention is better than cure. So its better to invest that money in safety measures, safety helmets rather than spending your hard earned money for the after-effects of road accidents. Once again, to the organizers and volunteers of this awareness project, a job well done aimed at a good cause.

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  1. Why are Pillion riders not wearing helmets? It is just as dangerous as the driver not wearing a helmet.

  2. A good initiative by the organizers to bring awareness about Road Safety, Wearing genuine helmets while riding two-wheelers, and driving drunk.

    Good article by Alfy as always, portraying on various issues. The organizers should follow up on this project- a campaign just a day will not serve the purpose. Thank you.

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