THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: With the Kerala Police and the Motor Vehicles Department having intensified vehicle checking and ensuring that pillion riders wear helmets, the order has evoked a mixed response from the people in the city.The High Court had recently asked the state government to make it mandatory for the pillion riders to wear helmets. “We initially considered implementing the rule and imposing fines from Sunday. Although violations were reported, pillion riders were just warned. From this week onwards, we will start imposing fines,” said Bijumon K, RTO enforcement.
As per the new Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, it is mandatory for every person above four years of age to wear a helmet. Any pillion rider who violates the rule would be fined at Rs 500 under the Act. While many welcomed the rule, others opined that more time should be given to implement the rule for children. “Instead of executing the rule immediately, awareness should be created first,” said Arun J V, a BSNL employee.
There is also a lack of availability of helmets for children. “I have two children aged eight and 10. Due to the strict implementation of the helmet rule, I had to go to multiple shops in search of helmets which weren’t available in most of the shops,” he said.
Recently, a 24-year-old woman working in Technopark succumbed to her injuries suffered in a two-wheeler accident near Kazhakoottam. According to the police, she was the pillion rider. “Pillion riders are affected the most during accidents. The woman wasn’t wearing a helmet due to which she suffered a head injury. Risk can be minimised when helmets are worn,” said Rajeev Krishnan, an IT professional.
Madhukar Krishna, a city-based professional bike rider said: “This rule should have been put into practice much earlier. Riders are protected by helmets but the pillion riders have nothing to safeguard them.” He also added that the sale of cheap low-quality helmets is on the rise which do not act as effective shields.