Wayside helmet vendors happy; MVD worried
By Lekshmi Mohan | ENS | Published: 07th October 2013 10:55 AM |
Wayside helmet vendors are having a good time, thanks to the Motor Vehicles Department (MVD) going on an overdrive enforcing the helmet rule. Now, the wayside helmet vendors are seeing a huge increase in their sales.
With the authorities suspending the licence of riders violating the rule, the number of roadside helmet vendors has also gone up significantly over the last one month in the city. Rather than visit shops, most people buy helmets from the roadside vendors, from whom they get helmets starting at a price of Rs 300, whereas the same cost around Rs 700 in shops. However, there is a difference in quality.
MVD officials made it clear that one should wear a quality helmet with ISI mark. The law insists on the use of ISI-certified helmets, as it would ensure protection to the riders from head injuries, said Regional Transport Officer K M Shaji.
The helmet should cover the entire head and should be unbreakable. However, according to MVD officials, over 50 per cent of the two-wheeler riders in the city are using low-quality helmets. A good number of riders also wear the low-quality safety hats meant for construction workers to keep off police and transport officials.
The sale of the low-quality helmets is flourishing in the city and the wayside vendors are taking advantage of the situation and earning big margins by selling these poor-quality products.
These vendors occupy their places several kilometres away from the heart of the city, to help motorists from being fined in the city limits.
Travelling along the National Highway, one can see them at Kazhakkoottam, Sreekariyam, Pongummoodu and, on some days, in Ulloor. Chackai is another ‘permanent location’ of these vendors.
According to Harish Yadav, a north Indian wayside vendor, a customer approaching an authorised dealer for branded helmets will have to pay a minimum of Rs 500, while helmets can be obtained from him for even Rs 200. “We sell around 25 helmets a day. This even increases to 30 and more on some days,” said Yadav.
“The number of persons who voluntarily wear helmets is negligible. Many wear it to avoid fines. It is impossible for us to stop each and every vehicle and search for an ISI mark on the helmet. As the first phase, we are insisting on wearing helmets. Soon, helmets without ISI mark will also be fined,” said Shaji. He also called upon people to voluntarily wear quality helmets.
Meanwhile, the police and MVD officials also expressed their satisfaction over the outcome of their checking as more than 95 per cent of the two-wheeler riders are now wearing helmets.
“As many as three buses were given stop memos for not installing speed governors,” said Regional Transport Officer, Thiruvananthapuram, K M Shaji.