In a move to ensure that pillion riders, too, wear helmets, the Regional Transport Offices (RTOs) have asked dealers selling two-wheelers to include two helmets as part of the sales spiel.
This is being done as bikers do not follow the helmet rule for pillion riders even thought it is mandatory under traffic rules.
Recently, RTO officials conducted meetings with dealers of two-wheelers and asked them to persuade buyers to purchase two helmets instead of one.
“It has been noticed that usually bikers and two-wheeler riders wear helmets, but the pillion rider goes without one, which is dangerous. So, we have asked dealers to force people to buy two helmets,” said AV Pandkar, RTO (Wadala).
This decision was made around two weeks ago and the word is slowly being spread to dealers. The price of a helmet with an ISI certification is between Rs 450 and Rs 1,000. Nitish Rathi, a dealer of Mahindra two-wheelers at Saki Naka in Andheri (E), said, “We have devised a package to ensure that people buy two helmets at a reduced price.”
Initially, the helmet sales would not be made mandatory for dealers, but authorities want to make it compulsory eventually. “The Motor Vehicles Act clearly states that it is mandatory for pillion riders to wear helmets. This initiative will only strengthen our efforts to implement it,” said an official from Andheri RTO, on condition of anonymity, as he is not authorised to speak to the media.
Officials want dealers to sell helmets along with other accessories like gloves, guards for the rear and front of motorcycles and scooters, and jackets. “At present, the response is not so good, but if this is campaigned aggressively, it might turn into a habit for pillion riders to wear helmets,” said Sachin Dadarkar from Pilot Two-wheelers Pvt Ltd (Honda) at Chembur.
During the ongoing ‘Road Safety Fortnight’ campaign, the RTOs fined several pillion riders for not wearing helmets. Sources in the RTO said they found that less than 2% of pillion riders wore helmets.