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Cheap helmets cause for concern

CM wants officials to punish hawkers selling inferior quality helmets

Bikers, if you're tempted to buy one of those attractive helmets from the highway or any street stall, think again. Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan has taken serious cognizance of the quality of these helmets and asked the RTO and transport officials to take stringent action against hawkers selling cheap helmets in the city.


Representation Pic

The accident at Worli Seaface and another on the Lalbaug flyover seems to have been the tipping point for the CM's concern. Instigating swift action, the CM has initiated a new body called Maharashtra State Road Safety Council (MSRSC) to look into the cause of deaths due to bike accidents. "This council is chaired by the Chief Minister himself. Motorists need to buy helmets with ISI specifications. We will be reviewing the findings in regular meetings," said SK Sharma, Transport Secretary.

Cheap helmets
If the tendency of wearing helmets is absent among bikers, the availability of cheap quality helmets is another major issue. The roadside helmets are priced anywhere between Rs 80 to Rs 120. If bought from a retail shop, however, the cost would be more than Rs 350. "People should realise that their lives are more important and should only ride wearing a good quality helmet. We cannot keep a track of bikers round-the-clock. They should follow guidelines," said V Phansalkar, joint commissioner (traffic).

Speed devils
In recent times, riders most prone to accidents are teenagers who drive carelessly. Statistics reveal that 61.1 per cent of bikers who have succumbed to their injuries due to rash driving are from the age group of 15 to 44 years. The state transport department has now proposed to reduce the age of getting a driving licence to 18 years. Currently, 16-year-olds can ride 50cc two wheelers with their learners' licence.

What MSRSC is planning to do
*
 Training will be given to drivers, both four and two wheelers
* Will check the quality of helmets in the market
* Provisions for resting place will be available
* Mark the accident- prone spots
* Make ambulances available

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