Both two-wheeler riders and those sitting pillion must now wear helmets, the Maharashtra transport department announced on Saturday. The move follows Bombay high court (HC) directives and applies across the state. “The severity of an accident is reduced if both the rider and pillion rider wear helmets,” an official statement said.
To ensure the rule is followed, the department has also asked all dealers of motorbikes and scooters to sell not one, but two helmets to their customers. RTOs have been asked to keep documentary evidence of dealers providing their customers with two helmets. “We will begin implementing the new resolution of making it mandatory for a pillion rider to wear a helmet by next week. We are taking steps to spread the word too,” said Milind Bharambe, joint commissioner of police, traffic.
The HC’s directives to the transport department came on a PIL. The department, however, is likely to face resistance in parts of the state, including Pune, where citizens, as well as sitting and former MLAs have been protesting against the rule, even though the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, mandates it.
The department had in January 2015 also made indemnity bonds compulsory while issuing new two-wheeler licences, acting on transport minister Diwakar Raote’s directives. This means a licence-holder caught without a helmet will be directly answerable in court for contempt.