CHENNAI: A total of 792 motorcycle riders died in road accident in Chennai in 2018. Of this, 769 (98%) were not wearing helmets. Had they worn helmets this huge loss of lives could have been prevented, police data reveal.
Statistics collated by traffic wing of Chennai police show that over 61 per cent of people who died in road accidents were riders of motorbikes. In 2018, out of 1,297 deaths in road accidents, 792 were motorbike riders.
"A few months ago, a man drove his motorbike on a banner which had fallen on the road. Since he was wearing a helmet, he escaped with bruises all over the body, but the helmet saved his life. People have a wrong notion that if they ride motorbikes at 20 kmph or 30 kmph, they need not wear helmets since nothing will happen even if they fall," said M Sree Abhinav, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Traffic (East).
Chennai traffic police recorded 7,794 accident cases in 2018, in which 1,297 people - at least three to four every day on average - died. The number of accidents was 3.7 per cent more compared to 2017 (7517 accidents). In January 2019 alone, 689 accidents were recorded in the city which claimed 114 lives against 103 deaths during the corresponding month last year, the data reveals.
The police officer added that people forget that they fall at an approximate height of six feet and the head, which is the heaviest part of the body falls first.
In Chennai police jurisdiction, Poonamallee traffic limit witnessed the maximum number of accidents and deaths in 2018. In 338 accidents, 345 people, out of which almost 300 were riding two-wheelers.
"Since the bypass and outer ring roads have less number of vehicles, motorists ride fast, most of the time, without helmets. It is not just youngsters who do it, but also middle-aged people", said a police officer attached to Poonamallee traffic wing.
One-fifth of road accidents occurred on the roads of Poonamallee, Maduravoyal, Ambattur and Avadi. Stretches like Chennai Outer ring road, EVR Periyar Salai (Poonamallee High Road), Poonamallee bypass road, Grand Northern Trunk road, Ennore Express Road, Maduravoyal bypass road, Grand Southern Trunk (GST) road and East Coast Road (ECR) have contributed to almost 60 per cent of the total road accidents.
As people are in a hurry, bad overtaking results in death. Youngsters try to show off and weave in and out of thick traffic. Though the number of accidents have gone up by 3.5 per cent compared to the previous year, the deaths have come down by 3.7 per cent. While 7517 cases were recorded in 2017, 7794 cases were recorded in 2018. Meanwhile, 1347 people died in 2017 and 1297 died the next year.
Speaking to Express, A Arun, Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic), said, "There is an increase in the number of accidents since I have insisted to register small accidents also. We have booked around 24.5 lakh cases for not wearing helmets, collecting around 27 crore as fine. Still people are reluctant to wear helmets".
Chennai city road accidents
Number of people who died in January 2018 - 103
Number of deaths in January 2019 - 114
Number of people who died in 2018 - 1297
Number of fatalities of two-wheeler riders in road accidents in 2018 - 792
Number of two-wheeler riders not wearing helmets who died - 769
Major accident prone stretches
1. Chennai Outer ring road
2. EVR Periyar Salai
3. Poonamallee bypass road
4. Grand Northern Trunk road
5. Ennore Express Highway
6. Maduravoyal bypass road
7. Grand Southern Trunk (GST) Road
8. East Coast Road (ECR)