‘Punekars feel proud about being anti-helmet’

We should have empathy and consideration for others and it will result in less conflict on the roads, says road safety activist Ajit Aggarwal

pune Updated: Jul 15, 2017 15:54 IST
Ajit Aggarwal
Ajit Aggarwal
Hindustan Times, Pune
Ajit Aggarwal says that respecting each other plays a major role in ensuring road safety.
Must have, must do
When driving, always carry your driving license and important documents like vehicle registration certificate, insurance certificate, road tax & P U C certificate
Don’t drink and drive
Obey all traffic signals, boards and signs
Use the indicator or hand signals when changing lanes
Adhere to permitted speed limits
Don’t use your cell phone while driving. If urgent, move to the left, halt and then make the call
Irrespective of right to way, stay alert and be considerate to pedestrians especially senior citizens, handicapped and children
Avoid parking on the road
Use pay-and-park islands
Do not overload your vehicles - be it luggage or passengers
Wear seat belts
Always drive in correct gear
Avoid sudden braking and harsh acceleration
Never use the clutch as a footrest while driving
Never walk on the main carriageway, it could be fatal
Use footpaths, subways & pedestrian crossings for your safety
In case of no footpaths, walk against the direction of traffic which allows better visibility
In case of no pedestrian crossings, watch for traffic on both sides and cross when it’s safe
Don’t indulge in jaywalking, reading newspapers or hoardings when on the roads
Always wear helmets
Do not ride at high speeds. You may lose control and your life in the bargain
Do not ride or wheel your vehicle on to the footpath
Use your lights when riding at night
Understand the signals given by other road users and use the same when riding
Never stop abruptly in traffic. Move to the left and slow down
Slow down at zebra crossing, and if needed, stop
Halt your vehicle
Move the injured to the nearest private /government hospital
At the government hospital, give your name, address and relevant information of the accident to the duty constable stationed at the casualty department.
Wait in the hospital till the duty officer from the police station arrives
If you cannot give first aid or medical treatment to the injured at the place of accident because you are surrounded by a mob, then you must report this incident immediately to the nearest police station. As per provisions of sections 134(a), 187 M V Act Driver, failing to do so is liable for three months imprisonment or five hundred rupees fine or both.
(Source: Maharashtra Traffic Police)

I run an organisation – Margdarshak – for road safety. While enforcement of law and respecting rules is a core part of road safety, I personally feel that we must learn to respect others first.

We should have empathy and consideration for others. It will result in less conflict on the roads. I am literally, mentally blind while using roads. I use road presuming that it’s meant only for me. We should learn that the road is meant for sharing. If we share it happily, we will have fewer accidents. In this process, we will learn to respect rules and regulations related to traffic. Today, everybody is in a hurry and feels that mine is the only important work. It is not good.

We should educate people from schools. We had a good experience. We did an experiment, where we asked students to insist their parents and neighbours to wear helmets whenever they are out on a two-wheeler. It worked out nicely. Parents and neighbours cannot neglect a request from a kid because of emotional attachment; because both of them care for each other. Many of them are wearing helmets now.

We insisted on the use of seat-belt while driving a car in 2009. Results are good. Most of car drivers are seen using seat-belts in Pune, which was not happening earlier.

Helmets continue to be a problem. My observation is that police are willing to enforce the helmet compulsion, but cannot because of pressure from Mantralaya.Politicians are afraid of their vote bank. Every time we do something on helmets, we are opposed by people who are mainly politicians. The unfortunate part is people of Pune feel a pride in saying: “I am an anti-helment activist”.

First Published: Jul 15, 2017 14:15 IST