To be or not to be – confusion carries on. To wear or not to wear. A confusion compounded by shifting stance of the government and lethargic attitude of traffic police. It is a wonder that such a life saving accessory is to be forced on by law! Rather than getting into what the police or government should do it is always my argument that our safety depends first on our action or inaction. So here are some observations and suggestions.

Let us take the helmet first. It is a personal thing. Not one size fits all accessory. It should not be too tight or too loose. You get head aches in the first case and neck sprain in the second. The strap should always be worn tight but not too tight. Take time when you buy a helmet.

Wear one you fancy (of course you won’t fancy one if you are buying just to beat the law) and move around the shop (unless you are buying from the platform, which is not recommended as the law requires an ISI certified one) for atleast 15 seconds to get the feel and fit. With the strap on of course. Too tight or too loose, reject. Find a sung fit, maybe a little tighter which will ease out after some days and become comfortable. The line of the visor should be just above your eye brow and if you grasp the jaw protection and the top of the helmet and move it upwards there should not be much movement. This way you can select the best helmet for you and by wearing it with the strap on you can be assured that it will not fly away in the event of an accident.

Now for the actual scenario on road.1. Some don’t have the helmet at all.

2. Some have it attached to their bike and in the process some cover the rear number plate which is another offense. Some have it on their petrol tank, side hanger, rear view mirror or wear it like a bag on their shoulder as one of the pictures above show.

3. Some wear it but without buckling the strap. Some wear it wrongly also as one of the pictures above show.

4. Some wear it, buckle the strap but the strap will be very loose, not close to the jaw line, which is nearly as bad as not strapping.

5. Some wear it properly.

1 & 5 above are a minority. 2, 3 & 4  above are the majority who buy/use helmet for the sake of the law.

The no 1 are either young or powerful and may think they are immortals. The traffic police either don’t stop them or can’t stop them.

I think no 5 do not need discussion because they are the ones who have realised the importance of helmet and are wearing it for their own sake, not because of law.

But the 2, 3, & 4 are the most dangerous, in my opinion, and should be penalised.

Let us discuss why.

  1. They show other motorists wrong way of doing things.
  2. They show that helmets are important only for the sake of law, not for life.
  3. They also endanger their life by having loose helmets on their head which defeats the purpose of wearing helmet.
  4. Some of them endanger other’s lives by having the helmets loose on their bike/scooter. I have seen it falling off and on to the road on sudden braking or while a zig zag maneuver. One such instance can be seen in one of the pictures above. Other motorists just went around it and you see a qualis driver stopping to pick it up.

As the famous quote goes there are many reasons for not doing a thing but there is only for doing it. In this case it is commonsense.

PS: The woman in the picture wearing the helmet is my friend and didn’t know that it is the wrong way. First I took a snap and then corrected her. It is her husband’s helmet!