Residents seek clarity on quality of the head gear from police.
S. Grace, a middle-aged woman, glances at the helmets stacked on the rack in a shop on Anna Salai. Though she has been riding a two-wheeler for the past five years, this is the first time she will be wearing the head gear — thanks to a direction by the High Court early this month making helmets mandatory while riding.
“My husband told me that if I don’t wear a helmet, the policemen will seize my license and other documents. Hence I thought of purchasing one,” says Grace. Due to customers like her, helmet sale in the city has soared, claim shopkeepers.
As many customers have started making the last minute purchases, shops are running out of stocks. “There has been a 200 per cent increase in the sales compared to last month. I fear sale of helmets will also start in the black market due to the demand. The government should extend the deadline,” adds A. Jaffer Ali of Rainbow Lining Industry on Anna Salai.
The minimum price of a helmet is Rs. 400 and the maximum is Rs. 18,000. “Earlier we used to get 10 customers everyday, now over 150 persons approach us for the headgear,” says R. Manohar who runs Jothi Lining Industry in Azeez Mulk 4 Street off Anna Salai.
With the deadline approaching, many roadside helmet shops have also mushroomed in the city.
Many customers are confused about their quality and seek clarity on the type of helmet that is approved. “I need to know if one should use full face or a shell helmet. I also have a doubt about whether motorists should wear only ISI certified helmets. It would be helpful if police advises motorists,” adds K. Damodaran, a resident of Pozhichalur.
However medical experts, who welcome the move, feel that the High Court and police should also regulate speeding.
Ranganathan Jothi, director, Institute of Neuro Surgery, Madras Medical College, said nearly 60 cases of head injury come to the Government Hospital on a daily basis.
“Out of this 90 per cent is due to road accident and those who did not wear a helmet,” he says.
The doctor added that the accidents mainly happen on high-speed routes. “The police should also check over speeding. Wearing a helmet won’t be of help if they ride at high speeds and get involved in accidents.”