As part of World Head Injury Awareness Day (March 20), Global Health City organised a bike rally, Stayin’ Alive, a campaign for safer roads and prevention of head injuries.
The event gains significance in the context of increasing number of fatal two-wheeler accidents in the city.
“Of the 200 patients who came to us with head injuries last year, nearly 70 of them were in a serious condition and had to be operated upon. It is important that victims are given initial treatment without being made to shuttling between hospitals,” said K. Sridhar, head of neurosurgery and director of neurosciences at Global Health City.
People who survive head injuries may succumb to other disabilities in the long run including cognitive problems, weakness and lack of coordination of muscles, he said.
“After a serious head injury, I advise them against riding two-wheelers again since they may get fits,” Dr. Sridhar said.
Non segregation of traffic and poor traffic engineering standards contribute to such accidents, said experts.
“Two-wheeler riders have become more vulnerable as they are deprived of adequate space on our roads. In most cases, they ride alongside heavy vehicles and try to cross lanes without giving an indicator,” said Rohit Baluja of Institute of Road Traffic Education, a research organisation.
Most pillion riders refrain from wearing helmets thereby increasing risk, he said.
Helmets sold here cover the head and ears but many abstain from wearing them as they feel suffocated. Mr. Baluja said, helmets could be customised to suit weather conditions in the city without compromising on safety standards.
“India follows the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe with respect to helmet design,” he said.
The need of the hour is change in the attitude of people and better enforcement practices so that people stick to traffic rules, said K.P. Subramaniam, retired professor of urban engineering at Anna University.
“We need traffic personnel who are constantly vigilant to keep track of violators. The intention should be to prevent accidents and not just penalise the violators,” he said.
* Till November 2012