TAMIL NADU

Gear up for headgear scenario

SAFETY FIRST: Alert riders on a city road. PHOTO: S. JAMES.

SAFETY FIRST: Alert riders on a city road. PHOTO: S. JAMES.  

Death in accidents reported at Government Rajaji Hospital alone ranges from 35 to 65 every month, says S. Sundar

A moped rider applies sudden brakes on Dindigul Bypass Road on Tuesday. The pillion rider slips down from the vehicle. His head lands on the ground with a thud. Next day, the 33-year-old Suresh dies in hospital. His family lost its breadwinner.

This is not an isolated incident.

Death in road accidents reported at the Government Rajaji Hospital alone ranges from 35 to 65 every month.

Suresh would have escaped with bruises had he worn a helmet. It would have saved not only Suresh but also the lives of most of those who have died in accidents involving two-wheelers, says the Deputy Commissioner of Police (Traffic), V.H. Mohamed Haneefa.

The city police statistics show that 23 persons died in two-wheeler accidents in 2005. This went up to 29 the next year.

In 2007, four have been killed till date.

It is only in the interest of the riders that the State Government has decided to make helmet-wearing a compulsory, Mr. Haneefa says. In any accident, the victim, when thrown out of the vehicle, seldom has control over his body. Mostly it is the head that lands first. And as it hits the hard surface of the road, the victim has a tragic end.

People do not like to wear helmet only because they think it causes inconvenience to them.

"They do not realise that it will save their precious life," the Deputy Commissioner says. Our motto is: "Rule or no rule. Wear helmet, save life." The most tragic aspect of accident deaths is that many of them are in the age group of 19 to 35 years, a medical officer in the GRH says. As more bikes with hi-speed engines hit the market, it is only wise for every rider to wear a certified crash helmet.

"Helmet will be of no use if it is carried on the petrol tanks. It may not protect your head, even when the strap is not properly tightened," Mr. Haneefa warns. Stating that more women in Chennai are seen using helmets these days, Mr. Haneefa says that one can use a scarf on the head to absorb sweat. He hopes that strict enforcement will drastically bring down the fatal rate once compulsory helmet wearing comes into force.

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