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HindustanTimes Thu,28 Aug 2014

Helmets for women: EC shows green light to transport dept

Atul Mathur, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, April 29, 2014
First Published: 09:55 IST(29/4/2014) | Last Updated: 10:00 IST(29/4/2014)

Women travelling on two-wheelers, driving or riding pillion, may have to start wearing helmets from June this year.

The Election Commission on Monday gave its go-ahead to the transport department to make necessary amendments in Delhi Motor Vehicle Rules to make wearing helmets mandatory while riding a two-wheeler in the Capital.

The transport department will now issue a notification inviting suggestions and objections from general public against its proposal to amend Rule 115 (2) of the Delhi Motor Vehicle Rules, which made helmets optional for women. The final notification will be issued after a month.

“If the department receives a number of objections from the individuals or groups, the Lieutenant Governor may give them a chance to present their case. Depending on the merits of the argument, the L-G will take the final call,” a senior transport department official said.

Taking serious note of a number of fatal accidents involving two-wheeler riders, the transport department had been trying to do away with the amendments made to the Delhi Motor Vehicle Rules, which gave this concession to women riders.

In April 2012, the transport department had even told the high court -- which was hearing a petition filed by activist Ulhas Javed -- that it was considering making helmets mandatory for women.

But it was forced to make a U-turn after the Sheila Dikshit government issued a clarification the next day that transport department officials had “overlooked” the government’s notification of June 4, 1999, making it optional for women to wear any kind of protective headgear while driving a two-wheeler or riding pillion.

According to sources, 63 women travelling on two-wheelers had died in accidents in 2013 in comparison to 42 in 2012. While the Congress was trying to resist the attempts to amend the law in deference to religious sentiments, the transport department approached L-G Najeeb Jung, who cleared the proposal last month.

“There are serious security concerns which prompted us to take this decision. The helmets can reduce the impact in case of an accident. Head injuries are the major cause of death and disability.

 The Delhi Traffic Police had also recommended that helmets be mandatory and the ministry of road transport and highways had written to the L-G in this regard,” a transport department official said.


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