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Pune Speak Up: Riding towards Safety

Tuesday, 27 May 2014 - 8:32am IST | Place: Pune | Agency: DNA
Taking serious note of the rising death toll of two-wheeler riders in the city, Pune police commissioner, Satish Mathur, has initiated steps to make helmets compulsory. The traffic department will impose a fine of Rs100 on anyone found guilty. However, the million dollar question is, will the rule sustain this time?
  • Shashank Sane DNA

THE POLICE FORCE SHOULD SET AN EXAMPLE
The attempt to diligently implement the helmet rule in the city by the former police commissioner could not see light of day and I am sure, this time also, the rule will meet the same fate. The police force does not lead by example, themselves. They should set an example in front of the citizens by wearing helmets for the next six month. More than 50 per cent of the police force in the city does not wear helmets. So, what moral or legal right do they have to compel the public to follow the rule. If the policemen start wearing helmets, I would arrange a felicitation programme for them in front of Shaniwarwada. It is a challenge they should take up. Why is the police commissioner and the traffic department head not talking about making helmets compulsory for their own force?
—Vivek Velankar, citizen activist

POLITICIANS ARE CAUSING AHINDRANCE
Will compulsory helmet rule sustain itself in Pune, is a million dollar question. The reason why the rule still hasn’t been applied in the city, is due to lack of political will. The last time when the rule was enforced, there were political rallies against it. If there is no political interference, it will be duly implemented by the police. Wearing helmets while riding is not a new rule, the police are just enforcing an existing law. Our politicians are seem to be playing tricky politics — backing and allowing unlawful activities such as encroachments, illegal constructions and at the same time are against the helmet rule. The helmet rule is being rigorously implemented in the rest of Maharashtra and Pune should follow suit. It is surprising that in the city, people scorn at you if you are wearing a helmet, when it should be the other way round.
—SCN Jatar, president, Nagrik Chetna Manch

STRICT FINES SHOULD BE IMPOSED
I always wear a helmet while driving as I feel it is necessary. There have been many instances when helmets have saved people from falling prey to serious injuries. But imposing a fine of Rs100 is very less as people will pay and then forget the rule. A higher fine should be imposed so that people understand the importance of using helmets.
—Gaurang Aras, student

HELMETS MAKE DRIVING DIFFICULT
Though a helmet adds to a driver’s safety, wearing it becomes extremely uncomfortable sometimes. It is necessary to look around while you are driving on the streets of Pune as people do not adhere to lane discipline. Helmets make it all the more difficult sometimes.
—Charul Bhalerao, student

WE NEED TO PLAY SAFE
It is a known fact that if you wear a helmet, the chances of you surviving a potentially fatal accident increases. Helmets are good for safety and it is our collective responsibility to keep traffic safe. It depends on a citizen that how much he values his and others’ lives. People who don’t care for their safety will never think about others. We have laws about age of marriage, about drinking till a certain age because our society as a whole is not mature yet. So why can’t we have a strict law for wearing helmets while driving? If citizens are not acting wisely, the law has to be enforced stringently.
—Harshad Abhyankar, senior associate, Institute of Transportation and Development Policies

AWARENESS AND SAFETY FIRST
Our main aim is to spread awareness amongst citizens. Merely one out of five motorists wear helmet in Pune. On an average 2500 two-wheeler riders in the city are fined for rash driving, riding triple seat and for talking on their mobile phones while driving. 
—Vishwas Pandhare, DCP (traffic)

EVERYONE IS EQUAL BEFORE THE LAW

Helmet is for the safety of two-wheeler riders. Whether its a common man or a police officer and action will be taken against all those who will not follow the rule. 
—Satish Mathur, Pune police commissioner

CORPORATES SHOULD TAKE AN INITIATIVE
I wish that every Punekar follows the helmet rule as it is diligently followed in the other parts of the country. I do not understand why it is not implemented or followed in Pune. It is a good initiative to compel citizens to wear helmets for their own safety. However, the police force should ensure that the rule remains put. Meanwhile, I feel the corporate sector should also come forward and take some initiative to compel their employees to wear helmets while coming to office. At IdeaS, we have made it compulsory for all the employees to wear helmets when they come to work without which, they are denied parking within the parking lot. We have seen that it makes a difference.
—Rajiv Nashikkar, managing director, VP, IDeaS India




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