TODAY -

Is compulsory helmet enough ?
- The Sangai Express Editorial :: May 06, 2009 -



It is because of the importance that is given to protecting human lives and limbs that protective gears have been made mandatory in many fields.

So while cricket may just be a game, albeit with lakhs of avid fans, at least in India, batsmen use a plethora of protective gears such as helmet, pads, crotch guard, elbow guard etc. Ditto too for the wicket keeper.

In more risk prone sports such as Formula I all the drivers are suited and booted with protective gears in all the right places and so is the case in boxing too. In football too, players wear shin guards for reasons that should be obvious to all while in hockey, the goal keeper is bedecked with helmets, crotch guard, pads etc etc.

Given that driving along the road or the highway too entails a fair degree of risk and in the backdrop of the introduction of sleek, speedy and highly exciting motor vehicles, a number of safe guards has been made mandatory for anyone taking the wheel of a four wheeler or a two wheeler.

Taking into consideration the fact that majority of the fatal cases in road accidents involving two wheelers are due to head injuries, Governments across the world and in India too have made it mandatory that two wheeler drivers and pillion riders too should wear helmets or protective head gears.

For four wheeler drivers and passengers too, strapping on the safety belt has become compulsory in a good number of cities across the country. All these measures are taken up to ensure the safety and security of the people when they venture out of their homes in their vehicles for their daily chores or for some other reason.

The question that arises against this backdrop is, then why are the people of Manipur taking the recent order, making helmets compulsory for two wheeler riders, with a pinch of salt and in some quarters raising even speculative 'suspicious' questions ?

By all accounts the Government must leave nothing to chance to ensure the safety of the people but however there is something of a hitch in the latest order issued by the Government.

One very important question is, why was the order issued in such a haste, leaving motorists high and dry ?

Common sense dictates that a reasonable time frame is a must while issuing such an order. Only those who are responsible for coming up with such a brilliant idea can answer why the order was issued as if the world was going to come to an end if motorists do not wear helmets within the deadline set.

If safety of the motorists and pedestrians is the concern of the Government then it too should address a number of other issues on a priority basis.

For starters we suggest that the Government put in place zebra crossings, especially in crowded areas where there is a sizeable number of pedestrians at any given point of time.

One way traffic norm should be applied to all including the police commandos on their bikes and security personnel, especially the Army, CRPF, BSF and Assam Rifles.

These men in uniform should not be allowed to park their heavy vehicles plumb in the middle of the road. Police commandos too should be told in no uncertain terms that they cannot expect everyone to give them the right of way when there is a traffic snarl for in the hurry to give them way, the chances of a mishap taking place increase manifold.

The dug out portions in the middle of the road (Read Imphal Sewerage Project and other such projects) too should be filled up soon and there should be visible signs at all the road medians and dividers.

Making helmet compulsory at such a short notice and forgetting the other nuisances which pose a threat to the safety of the motorists and pedestrians will make the decision of the Government quixotic.





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