The Telegraph
Wednesday , June 27 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Cops to call bikers’ helmet bluff

Next time you need to dodge the police for not carrying a licence or other documents, use your head...err your headgear.

Patna traffic police will launch a unique drive from the second week of July to enforce the use of helmets for bikers and pillion riders.

“Though the drive is in planning stage, the police would be a bit lenient on fines in the initial days to encourage people to wear helmets. If the police find both the biker and the pillion rider wearing helmets, they won’t be stopped for any checks even if they are not carrying necessary papers or a licence. If there is only one rider wearing a helmet, that person too won’t be stopped for checks. But if anyone is found riding without a helmet, he or she would be stopped and all papers will be checked. In most cases, it has been found during checks that many motorists ride their two-wheelers without a licence or necessary documents. Apart from the Rs 100 fine for not wearing a helmet, the fine would add up for each violation,” Patna traffic superintendent of police (SP) Chandrika Prasad told The Telegraph on Tuesday.

“On any normal day, the police check two- and four-wheelers for driving licences, insurance, registration, pollution certificate and other documents. Different offences carry different amounts as penalties. Even people wearing helmets are stopped and checked for these documents. In Patna, the situation has improved quite a bit and a majority of people are seen wearing helmets. But most pillion riders do not wear helmets. They, too, are always at an equal or greater risk, as they cannot apprehend a sudden mishap. Wearing of helmets for both the driver and the pillion rider is very important and the police would slowly enforce the same,” Prasad added.

The officer added that several teams, each comprising at least 10 police personnel, would be formed and checks would be conducted at different areas.

“We need to be a little lenient about fines for a while to make people don helmets. In Calcutta and Delhi, it is mandatory for both the biker and the pillion rider to wear helmets. The pillion rider doesn’t have much idea about the traffic and cannot anticipate anything unlike the biker. The pillion rider faces a greater risk. Further details about the campaign would be announced later,” the SP added.

Rakesh Kumar, a Gardanibagh resident, said the campaign should be started only after proper information is provided to the public. “Pillion riders usually don’t wear helmets in Patna. A majority of people are unaware of the rule. If the police want to enforce the rule now, a proper campaign should be launched first,” he said.

Anurag Pradhan, another daily motorist, said campaigns don’t work.

He said: “There were many such campaigns earlier but they all fell flat. Earlier this year, the police had started blackening fancy number plates but the drive lost steam after a few days. If a campaign is aimed at long-term success, it should be monitored at regular intervals. It is true that a pillion rider would be safe if he dons a helmet.”

The police will also be reviving a one-way traffic plan on different roads in the capital shortly.

“There is a plan to change some roads of the city into a one-way zone to improve the traffic flow. Even earlier, there was such a plan and it was even ready for implementation. But owing to some circumstances, the plan never materialised. The police are studying the old plan and would make necessary changes in accordance with the present traffic conditions of the city. At present, the police cannot divulge details on the plan,” Prasad added.

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