CHENNAI: Gone are the days when you could get down from your bike, hang your helmet on a side view mirror and sashay off to wherever you were going. Now, you need to be pretty sure you lock the helmet. While the demand for helmets has gone down considerably, instances of people having their helmets stolen are not.
According to several of these unfortunates that CE spoke to, nearly all had their helmets stolen from parking lots — of restaurants, office parking lots, theatres and even five star hotels. The one common thread running through all was the fact that none of them locked their helmets.
“But mine was a four-year-old helmet and it was pretty beaten up. I never thought anyone would want to take it,” complained K Bharath Kumar, who came back from lunch to find his helmet gone last Wednesday. Enquiries directed at the security guard at the gate predictably resulted in the advice: You should lock your helmets. Anyone will steal your helmets these days,” said Kumar.
However, Kumar’s is not the most striking of cases because that honour belongs to Raja Shankar, an owner of a small restaurant in Chinmaya Nagar.
“A customer came and complained to me that he had his helmet stolen from outside my hotel. I told him to lock his helmet properly and that there was nothing I could do,” he said. Two hours later, when Shankar went out he found his own helmet missing. “I had to eat my own words. I’d not locked it because it was right outside my hotel. I lock it securely now,” he confessed.
The spate of helmet thefts, almost everyone seems to have heard of one in their circle of friends, has led to a sight hardly seen in Chennai’s parking lots before the first week of this July — a line of bikes with hardly a single one left unlocked.
Caretakers outside certain large temples in the city are also offering to take care of your helmet for a fee.
Not suprising. If the prices people have to pay to get one is any indication, a helmet really is too precious an item to be left unattended.