CHENNAI: With the Madras High Court making it compulsory for motorists to wear helmets from July 1, Chennaiites have begun embracing the idea. From Wednesday, those caught by the traffic police for not wearing helmets stand to have their licence and vehicles impounded, and would have them released only upon producing an ISI-certified helmet and a receipt of its purchase.
That being the case, Chennaiites say they have no other go, but to wear a helmet. “It is not like we have much of a choice here. If I have to avoid paying a hefty fine or losing my license, I have to wear a helmet,” said M Satish Kumar, a Velachery resident.
He said that for a city like Chennai, where traffic congestions hardly provided room for one to ride fast, making it compulsory to wear a helmet was not necessary. “The safety aspect is understood. In that case, they should also make it mandatory for riders to wear full safety gear complete with jacket and gloves and not stop with helmet alone,” he added.
For S Dinesh Kumar, it is about the added burden of making the pillion rider wear a helmet. “Having the rider wear a helmet is fine, but now, I will have to carry around a helmet for someone riding pillion. Usually, I don’t think twice before offering a lift to someone on the road. Now, if I don’t have the extra head gear, I cannot offer it any more,” he said.
However, not all expect troubling times to last for long. L Muthu Kumar, a Porur resident, said the traffic police would be strict for exactly one month and that by the end of the second month, it would be the same old story.
“Nobody is concerned about the safety of the public. If the traffic police were truly concerned, they would have impounded the licences of thousands of riders and fined even more, simply to raise awareness before July 1,” he said. “It means they are waiting for July 1 to collect a hefty fine from everyone. The police is as much interested in earning money as the helmet dealers right now,” he added.