This criminal lawyer rides his bike wearing a helmet made from kitchen utensil, a rustic tin pot in an attempt to create awareness regarding the quality of helmets that commuters are using and to shame the traffic cops for turning blind eye to the same.
A resident of Kolwadi village, Wajed Khan Bidkar practices at the Pune district and sessions court. While talking to Pune Mirror, he said, “The traffic cops are not mindful of any standard for the helmets. People are getting away using plastic and low-grade helmets bought off the streets and the cops don’t fine them.”
While he is on road, it is not unusual for him to be stopped by the cops regarding his headgear to which he shows them the fault in the system as there is no standard laid down for the helmets by the traffic department. He has even written to the Pune traffic police urging them to allow him to wear this ‘helmet’. Further, he also pointed out that the price of standardized helmets makes them out of reach for common people.
The Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 defines “protective gear” as a helmet which –
- by virtue of its shape, material and construction could reasonably be expected to be affordable by the person driving or riding on a motorcycle, a degree of protection from the injury in the event of an accident; and
- is securely fastened to the head of the wearer by means of straps or other fastenings provided on the headgear.
Bidkar says, “This sits perfectly with the description of the contraption in the Oxford dictionary. I am comfortable with it and the police have no right to take any action against me. The company-made helmets are also not standardized but the bikers using are not penalized.”
Expressing his concern regarding the safety of the commuters, Bidkar has also urged the traffic police to initiate an awareness campaign regarding the quality of helmets. Adding to this, he said, “The government also needs to take the onus of providing quality helmets at affordable rates to the people. If they cannot do that, they must allow us to use whatever we can.”
According to the report, it was the deputy commissioner of police (traffic), Tejaswi Satpute, who pointed to the presence of quality standards in the rule book. “As per the traffic manual, the quality of helmet has been specified. They have to be certified with the ISI mark and adhere to the Bureau of Indian Standards Act 2016. Use of helmets that do not fit the bill is not legal and eligible for action under the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.”
Do not just wear a helmet to get away from the cops. Wear a helmet for yourself and the loved ones in your life.