The Uttar Pradesh Cabinet has approved an amendment to the UP Motor Vehicle Rules, 1988, that will make it mandatory for two-wheeler pillion riders in the state to wear helmet.
The decision was taken during a Cabinet meeting held in Lucknow on Thursday.
“Earlier, there was an exemption for pillion riders under Rule 201 of the UP Motor Vehicle Rules, 1988. Now, the Cabinet has made amendments and made it mandatory for pillion riders to wear helmets. However, those wearing a turban will be exempted from wearing the helmet,” said Rajesh Kumar, superintendent of police (traffic) at Ghaziabad.
“After we receive the circular about the amendment, we will immediately start enforcing the decision. It will save a number of lives as many two-wheeler riders still do not wear helmets while driving,” he said.
Officials said the decision was taken following recommendations of a road safety committee constituted by the Supreme Court. The secretary of the committee sent a letter to the Uttar Pradesh government in August, 2015, asking it to make it mandatory for both the driver and pillion rider to wear helmet.
Officials in Ghaziabad said the decision will prove instrumental in preventing fatalities during accidents.
As per official estimates, in nearly 60-70% of the road accidents involving two-wheelers in Ghaziabad district, riders suffer injuries because they do not wear helmets.
According to records of the Ghaziabad traffic police, this year, 5,705 drivers were challaned for not wearing helmet in January, 3,912 were challaned in February, 4,141 were challaned in March, 4,272 in April and 5,708 were challaned in May.
In 2015, a total of 99,218 two-wheeler drivers were fined for not wearing helmets. Till May this year, the traffic police have fined 23,738 people for driving without helmets.
In May, Uttarakhand had made it mandatory for pillion riders in the state to wear helmets. The rule is already in force in neighbouring Delhi.
“The decision will be very helpful for two-wheeler drivers, but the traffic police needs to enforce the rule strictly. Some two-wheeler drivers do not wear helmets while they are in Ghaziabad but wear them as soon as they enter Delhi,” said Sanjeev Sethi, a resident of Indirapuram.
“This decision of the Uttar Pradesh Cabinet is very good. I witnessed an accident when a boy sitting pillion on a two-wheeler died while the driver escaped unhurt when their bike collided with a four-wheeler in Delhi three years ago. The boy sitting pillion was not wearing helmet. Making helmet compulsory for pillion rider will ensure the safety of the second rider,” said Nirbhay Kumar, a resident of Sector 33 in Noida.