A 16-year-old school-going teenager recently sustained minor head injuries after his two-wheeler met with an accident at JLN Marg while returning from school. He was lucky to have had a narrow escape, but many aren’t.
A quick scan of the city traffic at 7.30 am offers many blue, blurry images zipping past on the motorbikes. These are schoolchildren zooming off to school without helmets, even at the peak of winter. They are under-aged, rash and brazenly break traffic rules.
Their adrenaline rush is on show again at 2.30 pm when school gets over and they zoom off to home, cafes or tuition classes.
“We love to drive fast, we are next generation kids after-all, way ahead of everyone else,” said Akash Sharma, a class 12 student whom dna caught without helmet at Malviya Nagar.
He added that he doesn’t like wearing helmet. Asked why? He said, “Helmets can’t save lives, people die of many injuries on other body parts as well. Also it is not good for my hair style.”
Students in most schools begin to ride motorised vehicles from class 9 when they are hardly 15 years old — not even eligible to get a license.
All schools including MGD Girl’s College, Delhi Public School, St. Xavier’s, India International School, St. Anslem’s, Subodh, among others fall under same category.
What parents think
Rajkumar, a Malviya Nagar resident, said he insists his 18-year-old son wear a helmet and drive slow. “We, as parents, have added responsibility to make our kids understand about their safety. I ask my son to drive slow and wear a helmet which he does when he leaves home but I can’t be running after him all the time,” he said matter-of-factly.
What schools say
Almost every school contacted by dna said their responsibility of students’ safety ends when the kids step out of campus. The school authorities have sung the same song in one voice that they don’t allow children without helmets inside the school and that once school is over, they can’t be running after the students.
Bicycles too old fashioned for modern kids?
Using a motorbike is hot and riding bicycles not so much. If not, what would you call a class 11 student riding a Honda CBR to school? Is that a necessity or just a wild display of money? Bicycles are definitely out of fashion for the grown-up kids as most of them are aware of the benefits, but ditch this means of transport for more flashy and faster motorised versions to school.
What traffic dept says
“We carry out drives every now and then but it has to be a joint effort by the schools and parents, who allow children to use vehicles at such an early age. We have given guidelines to schools to send a list of students using motor fitted vehicles; some have sent lists, some have not,” Sanjay Shotriya, DCP Traffic Department told dna.
“We are also equipped with an Education Wing of the traffic department which goes to schools and educates students about traffic rules. But we are short staffed,” he said explaining the department’s inability to deploy traffic cops on roads early in the morning. “But, I would say safety of children is in parents’ hands and they need to be strict,” Shotriya said.