Women riding two-wheelers and even those on pillion may soon have to wear helmets. The Delhi government has asked the traffic police to reverse an earlier order exempting women from wearing helmets while riding bikes.
The government, at a meeting on January 12, decided to enforce the helmet law more stringently for bikers and pillion riders, irrespective of their gender.
"We have asked the traffic department to make it mandatory for women driving two-wheelers and also those riding pillion to wear helmets," Delhi chief secretary Rakesh Mehta said on Friday.
The government will now have to bring in a legislation to lift the exemption.
In 1999, the government had made it mandatory for both men and women on two-wheelers to wear helmets. The implementation of that rule sparked protests by the Sikh community.
They argued that Sikh men were not allowed to wear anything over their turbans while Sikh women had to keep their heads covered, so helmets did not go with their religious beliefs.
Keeping their sentiments in mind, the government amended the law to exclude all women and Sikh men from the rule.
The Delhi Traffic Police have welcomed the latest move.
"Last year, 700 people died in Delhi in motorbike accidents. Most of them were not wearing helmets," said Satyendra Garg, joint commissioner of police (traffic).