Safety for Two-Wheeler Riders…not just a Legal Requirement…

It’s been a long time since helmets became mandatory on Bengaluru roads. But how often do we think about our rules and regulataions? We always assume that they are put there only to inconvenience us, and with a typical “us/they” mentality, try and break or bend the rules if possible.

I agree, often laws are very user-unfriendly, and seem to make no sense at all…but that about the helmet law?

I had a neighbout who was a neurosurgeon, and once, when we were having a particularly heated debate on the helmet issue, he asked me to come for a round of his patient visits the next day.

He showed me the dreadful head injuries that resulted because of accidents that two-wheelers were involved in; and he especially stressed that though, at present, only the rider of the two-wheeler was being asked to wear a helmet, the pillion rider needed it even more.

Even slow-speed accidents, he showed, resulted in horrific head and brain injuries that a good helmet would certainly have mitigated.

So we have had the law now…but who will enforce the law? Who will think that the law is meant for THEM?

Certainly not this young mother, whom I saw with her toddler, in heavy traffic on Bannerghatta Road:

Safety for the child

Neither the mother nor the toddler is wearing a helmet. What is even more horrific is that the mother has put the child behind her back, has NO phyisical contact with her, and has NO clue what the little child is up to behind her.

Notice how all that is keeping the little toddler on the speeding two-wheeler is the grip of its two soft, tiny hands. In the event of a collision, what force would it take to break that grip and toss the little one into the traffic?

I yelled at this lady from my window. She was too far to hear. We tried to chase her to tell her to put her child in front of her, at least. We could not catch up with her.

Every person on the road seems to think that an accident will happen only to someone else, not to THEM. But two-wheeler riders like this lady are surely playing with fire.

Please pass the word to every one you know. Wear a helmet; keep a child in front of you on a two-wheeler; whatever the cost and inconvenience, get the child a helmet too. Do not agree to pick/up drop other people’s children. These children are too precious to be treated this way.

19 Comments so far

  1. Sid (unregistered) on September 3rd, 2007 @ 8:40 pm

    I agree with you whole-heartedly. I always always wear a helmet even if it a short ride to the grocery store nearby. And yes I wish the Govt had made it a must for the pillion as well.

    I see a number of people involved in speeding on their modified bikes and that too without their helmets on. Are these people out of their minds. When you can spend close to 50k on your bike cant buy a decent helmet worth 1000 bucks?

  2. rakram (unregistered) on September 3rd, 2007 @ 9:57 pm

    Worse than that .. what if the kid falls asleep. There have been numerous occassions when I’ve found the kid at the back falling asleep! That is an even more dangerous accident waiting to happen!!

  3. Simi (unregistered) on September 3rd, 2007 @ 10:06 pm

    Deepa, One of the most useful postings I’ve EVER read! Rakram’s comment is even more thoughtful. In my opinion, if one HAS to take a child on a 2 wheeler which has a platform (such as a scooter), the best choice would be to make them stand on the platform facing one. The rider, thus, knows what the child is up to and also the child is not exposed to dust as much as it would have been if it were facing the oncoming traffic. But, the bottomline is, a 2 wheeler ride on a busy road, for a child is suicidal.

  4. Lal (unregistered) on September 3rd, 2007 @ 10:17 pm

    This casual attitude towards road safety is really staggering – but then, isn’t the “Chalta he” attitude what we have been (in)famous for?

  5. randramble (unregistered) on September 3rd, 2007 @ 10:39 pm

    I was once riding a bike under jet-lag. I fell into sleep for a couple of seconds — yes, it’s true — as I was riding. I fell, with my head hitting the road divider. Since I had a helmet, I just got up and went home as if nothing had happened. I can’t imagine what’d have happened without the helmet.

    Also, I have felt that wearing a helmet accelerated my hair loss. But the head is always more important than the hair, isn’t it?

    On another note, when is this blog going to change its name to Bengaluru?

  6. Radman (unregistered) on September 4th, 2007 @ 2:02 am


    Disturbing photo and excellent commentary. You are right on point. There needs to be consumer awareness of the saftey issue combined with hefty and enforcable fines. I remember when I was in drivers education class in high school, they used to show us traffic accident films that depicted fatalities and injuries sustained as a result of not wearing seat belts. It definitely had an impact on young drivers. There is now a standard slogan in my state regarding seat belt use “Click it or Ticket”.

  7. Rajesh (unregistered) on September 4th, 2007 @ 9:43 am


    very practical and pointly. The observations such as these are so common today that one feels if there is any ‘sence’ people have for safety of their own kins…less said the better for their attitude towards others then. It is often blamed it out on RTO for governance issues but the ‘civic’ sence and ‘safety is what everyone should follow without a doubt.

    Great post!!

  8. P. Rao (unregistered) on September 4th, 2007 @ 10:14 am

    Deepa, This post made me sit back and wonder – “what on earth was she thinking?” But then i remembered my life from some 20 odd years ago when my mom would pick my sister up from school – driving a luna (a gloried bycycle if i may call it that).
    The only way my mom could be sure that my sister would remain awake on her ride back home would be to make her sing and she’d sing too…. just keep a conversation going I dont know how many people found it amusing to see a mom and baby on a luna singing out loud – but it helped the kid stay up.

  9. Sharath (unregistered) on September 4th, 2007 @ 11:03 am

    Come to think of it, this is the kind of post that should go into Bangalore Mirror. Needs exposure. Of course BM also needs to check with Deepa if it’s okay with her.

  10. blr bytes (unregistered) on September 4th, 2007 @ 1:18 pm

    I had a post up some time ago on this.

    “I’d like to see insurance companies pick up the ball on this one and invalidate insurance policies when riders who have had accidents, and as well as pillions were not wearing helmets. As is the case in the United Kingdom. Or, as is the case in Florida, they allow you to ride without a helmet, provided you have “…an insurance policy providing for at least $10,000 in medical benefits for injuries incurred as a result of a crash while operating or riding on a motorcycle.”

    The cost, of these helmet-less nutters, to the State, and the general law abiding and tax paying, populous is far too high.

  11. Goutham (unregistered) on September 5th, 2007 @ 2:44 am

    Very nice post Deepa.I completely agree and Helmets should be made compulasary for pillion riders as well. Somehow generally we are less aware of safety measures that can be taken in all measures of day to day activities. Hopefully schools and colleges take lead and spread the message of safety especially on roads. I am not sure why parents are not more concerned.

    One other thing I could not help but write is that when you publish photos of people(I know that it was taken on public property) especially if it is of a minor, it is makes sense to blurr the face in order to hide identity. I think it just respects the privacy of the person unless otherwise stated.

  12. Deepa Mohan (unregistered) on September 5th, 2007 @ 1:13 pm

    Dear Blr Bytes: I went to your blog and read your excellent post on the topic.

    But on my blog, where I have posted a link to this entry, there are comments from people with different opinions…

  13. Deepa Mohan (unregistered) on September 5th, 2007 @ 1:13 pm

    Dear Blr Bytes: I went to your blog and read your excellent post on the topic.

    But on my blog, where I have posted a link to this entry, there are comments from people with different opinions…

  14. Meera (unregistered) on September 5th, 2007 @ 1:15 pm

    I do take my son on my bike – but only on back roads, no main roads. He holds the mirror bars tight and he stands steady between my knees.
    He ALWAYS wears a helmet (yes, you do get children’s helmets – there is a road near lalbagh with lots of helmet shops) One thing is I don’t see a ISI mark on his helmet. Does anybody know where to get ISI mark childrens helmets?
    I have a spare helmet and make pillion riders wear it too.

  15. Deepa Mohan (unregistered) on September 5th, 2007 @ 1:24 pm

    Dear Blr Bytes: I went to your blog and read your excellent post on the topic.

    But on my blog, where I have posted a link to this entry, there are comments from people with different opinions…

  16. Nisho (unregistered) on September 6th, 2007 @ 5:48 pm

    Great post, Deepa! It is really sad to see people flouting the helmet rule. I had written a similar post on my blog. You can check it out here:

    I hope the lady in the picture reads this blog and does the right thing in the future.

  17. Lokesh (unregistered) on September 6th, 2007 @ 6:32 pm

    Hi Deepa,

    This is very good post. Really, like they say a picture can speak a thousand words. And this picture speaks like that. Also your write up on this is very thought provoking. Great.

    Posts like these I feel are very important to reinforce the benefits of using helmets & what one should not do. One other thing I have noticed which could cause a lot damage is when the lady sitting pillion on a bike has her dupatta lying so low that it is almost touching the tyres.

  18. SIG (unregistered) on September 7th, 2007 @ 11:12 am

    I think the poor innocent lady was just riding along when 2 toddlers attacked her. Clearly, as your photo shows, the first child has stolen the lady’s helmet and is taunting her in front of her bike – which is why her attention is diverted forward. And the munchkin at the back is hijacking her bike and starting to drive it backwards.

  19. Deepa Mohan (unregistered) on September 7th, 2007 @ 12:49 pm

    Oh, I still can’t stop laughing, my stomach is aching, after reading SIG’s comment!

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