Two-wheelers in accident dock
Two-wheelers — bikes and scooters — were involved in a third of the road accidents in Bengal last year, police records suggest.
Motorcyclists and scooterists have been at fault in one of five accidents that have resulted in 1,171 deaths. Motorcyclists and scooterists or pillion passengers have either been injured or killed in one of nine accidents.
The records suggest that most of the accidents related to two-wheelers involved people aged between 25 and 35. The number of minor riders at fault is considerable, too.
Accidents involving two-wheelers have always been a challenge for the police. “The biggest challenge has been to instil the importance of wearing helmets and following speed limits among two-wheeler riders,”a traffic police officer said.
Reckless driving and drink driving are behind most accidents involving two-wheelers apart from engineering faults on roads. Riding without helmets adds to the severity of the consequences of an accident, the police said.
Between July and September, 330,000 people were prosecuted for riding without helmets. In 2017, the number was 190,000, according to the records.
The Murshidabad district police reported the maximum number of prosecutions for riding without helmets during the July-September period this year (33,445 ). East Midnapore followed with 30,112 and West Midnapore with 24,429.
Many police officers Metro spoke to said the problem of speed biking had been controlled to a large extent through “prosecution and aggressive campaigns”.
“We are focusing on prosecution against riding without helmets and drink driving while trying to create awareness through the Safe Drive Save Life campaign,” an officer said. “The problem of speed biking has been controlled to a large extent.”
Of the 2,244 accidents in which two-wheeler riders were at fault, at least 88 involved minor riders who led to the deaths of 46 people, according to the records.
Two-wheeler riders aged between 18 and 25 were responsible for 346 accidents that led to 203 deaths. The number is 909 accidents and 456 deaths for those aged between 25 and 35.
“It is strange that people who are expected to know and follow traffic rules caused maximum accidents and deaths on roads,” an officer said.