Riders prefer cheap helmets despite safety concerns

Published on March 6, 2021 by

Road-side vendors sell 10 to 15 non-ISI mark helmets a day as compared to one or two ISI mark helmets in a week.

Bengaluru: Sales of cheap, non-ISI mark helmets are high in the city. Sonu Kumar Choudhury, a footpath vendor near the Mysore Road Metro station said that he sells close to 10 to 15 helmets worth Rs.150. Referring to the non-ISI helmets, he said, “These helmets are not at all safe. If I only get Rs.10 or 20 from these, what do you expect? It will break if it slips from your hand.” He also said  people generally ignore or do not see the ISI mark when they buy.

On November 20, 2020, The Ministry of Road Transport & Highways (MoRTH) has issued a notification, stating that from 1st June 2021, all two-wheeler helmets must bear the ISI mark under license from the Bureau of Indian Standards(BIS). Buyers say they are aware of the risks of buying the non-ISI mark helmets. Venkatesh, a regular two-wheeler user says the shops charge far more than the footpath sellers. “Police will charge Rs. 500 if I don’t wear a helmet. Better I will give Rs. 150 here and save Rs. 350 right?”

Records in Bengaluru Traffic Police Head Office show a 56 percent rise in cases of bikers without helmets from 2019 to 2020. NCRB data shows motorists have accounted for the maximum fatal road accidents in 2019. Around 59,000 deaths were reported which is 38 percent of total road accidental deaths. This raises safety concerns for the riders with low-quality helmets.

Dr. S, Sathyapal, president of the National Road Safety Organization said, people should think about their safety and not the law while buying helmets. “Buying these non-ISI helmets from the open market endangers the road users or the bikers. Any road accident might lead them to coma for three years or five years or sometimes even death.” He also said that it is not only the job of the police but also NGOs and other organizations who should take responsibility and create effective awareness.

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