There is a popular saying “Everything looks better from the inside of a motorcycle helmet”.
Well, a motorbike helmet certainly enhances the external look of a rider. However, as you all know, the look is not the main reason behind its invention.
The sole purpose of a helmet is to serve as a protective external cover for your skull while you ride along the nasty traffic.
Since its invention, helmets have protected and saved countless lives and prevented injuries that might accrue from motorcycle accidents among the wide motorbike community of India and the world.
In India, there was an annual record of about 72,000 women injured or killed from motorbike accidents in the 1980s. As a result, imminent safety laws were brought on paper to curb deaths and injury from motorized two-wheelers.
Today, we shall discuss a few helmet safety laws that have been established to facilitate the safety of the motorbike community according to the Motor Vehicle Act of 1988 and its amendments over the years.
Wearing Protective Helmet
Section 129 of the Motor Vehicle Act of 1988 clearly reads that anybody driving a motorcycle or a two-wheeler of any class in a public area is mandated to put on a protective safety helmet. The law exempts any person who is a Sikh and riding while putting on a turban.
Description of a Safety Helmet
According to Section 129A, the safety helmet must be shaped and constructed with materials that have the ability to protect the rider from injuries in case of an accident.
Fastening of the Helmet
Section 129B explains that the helmet must be fastened to the head of the rider before it can be considered as been put on. It can be fastened to the rider or driver with aid of straps or any other appropriate fasteners. This is to prevent the falling off of a helmet in case of an accident.
The Penalty for Failure to Put on a Helmet
According to Section 177 of the M.V Act, any rider who has been found guilty of not using a helmet would be punished by a fine of Rs. 100 for a first time and Rs. 300 for subsequent offenses.
Helmets Maximum Weight
In a bid to increase the safety and curb the production of sub-standard helmets, a new standard announcement was made by The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS). The BIS stated that all produced helmets must not exceed a maximum weight of 1.2kg as opposed to the previously accepted 1.5kg.
Helmets with ISI Mark
The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) also made it clear that the sale of Helmets without the ISI mark will be stopped and the use of such helmets will be treated as an offense.
Helmets Must Pass BIS Tests
All sold helmets must have gone through and passed all test issued by BIS.
- Some of these tests include the impact absorption test which tests specific impact points on a helmet with impact materials at a specific velocity.
- It also includes an impact test under different climatic conditions including humidity and temperature.
All helmets produced by manufacturers with an eye covering must be produced with a transparent element that is not inimical to the sight and vision of the rider.
Wearing of Helmets by Pillion Riders
The law was amended to include and mandate the wearing of helmets by pillion riders. All drivers and pillion riders of a motorbike must put on a helmet or be fined. This law still exempts pillion riders who are Sikhs and put on a turban.
Helmets for Children Above 4 years
In 2016, the government of India introduced yet another amendment to the Motor Vehicle Act to include minors. The safety law states that it is mandatory for all children above 4 years of age to be provided with a helmet while riding on any two-wheeled vehicle. Failure to adhere to this law attracts a fine of Rs 1,000, however, it exempts Sikhs who wear a turban.
So, as you can see, the safety helmet laws were enacted solely for the purpose of keeping two-wheeler riders safe. Needless to say, the law helps to reduce the number of deaths and severe head injuries during an accident to the barest minimum.
That said, as a responsible rider, you must make it a habit to make the helmet a compulsory add-on to your motorbike accessory kit for maximum safety and also encourage everyone around you to do the same.
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