Helmets to save pillion riders
By A Staff Reporter
Kathmandu, May 22: Experts, security officials and motorcyclists are of the view the provision that compels all motorcycle pillion riders to wear helmets will have a great impact in saving people from becoming victims of road accident deaths.
Although the provision of pillion riders putting on helmets is yet to be implemented, the issue has already become a hot agenda among the public and netizens.
In a city like Kathmandu and other towns, this provision has a high importance and is highly necessary to save people from untimely deaths, said the people who supported the provision.
Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) and chief at the Metropolitan Traffic Police Division (MTPD) Basanta Kumar Panta, during his press conference two days ago, had said majority of the motorcycle accidents that took place in Kathmandu and other cities had killed pillion riders mostly with severe head injuries.
According to statistics of the Traffic Division, there are currently 2,530,722 motorcycles and scooters registered across the country. The record includes only the two wheelers registered in the fiscal year 2074 and 2075 B.S. excluding those registered in the first 10 months of the current fiscal.
In Bagmati zone alone, a total of 921,917 two wheelers have been registered during the fiscal year of 2075/76 B.S.In the past six months of the current fiscal year, 11,101 motorcycles and scooters met road accidents in which 157 were killed, while 3,186 were injured.
In most of the road accidents involving motorcycles, the chance of pillion riders dying is 90 per cent, said SSP Panta.
How Far the decision is practical?
According to road safety expert Padam Bahadur Shahi, the MTPD’s initiative sounds good and is in favour of the motorcycle riders.
“Many aspects of life should not be weighed in terms of money only. The issue should not be raised negatively just for the sake of criticism because nothing can be as important and as valuable as human life,” Shahi said. He said people had a tendency to relate every government decision with monetary issue.
The clause-130 and sub-clause (2) of Motor and Transport Management Act-2049 has mentioned the provision of helmets for pillion riders too.
SSP Panta said the draft of the decision they had submitted to the Department of Transport Management was not guided by any ill intention to promote the business of any entrepreneur.
Meanwhile, former traffic police inspector Sita Ram Hachhetu said that the idea would be of high importance if the MTPD really succeeded to implement it effectively.
“We have also seen such decision getting implemented 17 years ago during the time of former and late Health Minister Dr. Upendra Devkota which could not go on for long due to heavy criticism,” Hachhetu said.
“Putting on helmets of every quality could not always be safe so people need to be aware about wearing quality helmets to avoid sometime minor accident as well,” Hachhetu said.
Former AIG Ganesh Rai, who had also headed the Traffic Division, however, said the current decision to introduce provision might have come to promote helmet business in Nepal.
“Unless the riders themselves become aware, alert and abide by the traffic rules, no helmets, whether they are of ISO standard or made of hard metal, could save a rider or pillion rider,” Rai said.
Meanwhile, Gaurav Lama, a motorcyclist, who is currently associated with a Tootle motorcycle pay-lift service, said that the helmet for pillion riders is always good and is necessary to ensure safety.
The only burden the provision causes is the riders have to carry two helmets with them and have to manage alternative carrying boxes on the side of the motorcycles, he said. This sounds quite impractical for motorcyclists who love to travel light and quick in the busy roads of the cities and towns.