Helmet for children on bikes: HC notice to Karnataka govt.

It is compulsory to ensure that children between the ages of nine months and four years wear crash helmets and safety harness as per the new rules

December 16, 2023 09:47 pm | Updated 09:47 pm IST - Bengaluru

The High Court of Karnataka has ordered the issue of notice to the State government on a PIL petition seeking directions to the authorities to implement the new rules, which mandate a motorcycle rider to ensure that a child between the ages of nine months and four years, carried as a pillion rider, has to wear a crash helmet and safety harness compulsorily.

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Prasanna B. Varale and Justice Krishna S. Dixit passed the order on the petition filed by Archana Bhat K., an Associate Professor and Head of the Department of Psychology in a private medical college in Shivamogga.

What rules say

It has been pointed out in the petition, filed through advocate Nitin Ramesh, that safety measures for children were introduced through Section 138(7) of Central Motor Vehicle (Second Amendment) Rules, 2022, which was notified on February 15, 2022, under Section 129 of the Motor Vehicles Act. As per the notification, the new rules would come into force one year after its notification.

Besides safety equipment, the new rules also prescribe that the speed of the motorcycle, with the child up to age four years being carried as a pillion, should not be more than 40 kmph.

However, the petitioner has pointed out that no action has been taken by the State government to implement the new rule even though it is more than 10 months since it became operative, with effect from mid-February, 2023.

Mortality, morbidity

Non-implementation of new rules resulted in the continuation of tragic instances of children suffering from mortality or irreversible morbidity due to road accidents caused by the negligence of drivers carrying children sans safety equipment, the petition said.

The petitioner has pointed out that as per the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways’ data of 2021, as many as 46,593 persons died due to non-wearing of helmets, of which 32,877 (70.6%) were riders and 13,716 (29.4%) were pillion riders. As many as 93,763 persons suffered injuries due to non-wearing of helmets, as per the ministry’s data, the petition said.

Helmets, harnesses

The petitioner has also sought a directive to the authorities to take urgent measures to ensure adequate availability of child safety helmets and child safety harnesses while pointing out that these safety equipment are not available in proportion to child population travelling on motorcycles in Karnataka.

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