In a few months this country will be experiencing temperatures of over 45 degrees in some places. The Supreme Court has decided to place our “safety” ahead of our protection from the heat by banning ALL TYPES of protective sunfilm on car windows. Apparently “they” want to be able to see inside our cars in case any nefarious activities are going on like rape or loading up a RPG. What are they trying to say – that rape and abuse doesn’t happen in people’s homes… Are they going to ban the curtains on my windows next?
After being constantly harassed by the Traffic Police in Vizag, we got the sunfilm on our car windows removed. But people and businesses will adapt. I now see more curtains on car windows like you see in Ambassador taxis . The other day I saw hoards of street sellers at traffic lights selling the suction type black sunshades which conceal more than the sunfilm ever did. And there’s always the use of the dupatta or sari palu to block out the harsh sun. Are they planning to ban that too? People are too inventive for the Supreme Court!
What the Supreme Court should be making a nationwide law about is wearing of helmets. Helmet laws in this country are as fickle as my dog searching for a good place to pee.
It feels like when the cops need to line their coffers a wee bit, they all come out and stop motorists who aren’t wearing helmets. And when the going is good, no one is stopped. When I visited Coimbatore recently I noticed that NO motorists were wearing helmets and no police were enforcing it either. Under section 129 of the Motor Vehicles Act (1988) all two wheelers and pillion riders have to wear a helmet. But what is the point of laws when there’s no one to enforce it. Even though there is central legislation, the individual states must have a notified law in order to enforce the legislation, which most states do not have.
In a study by NIMHANS, they found that 40% of those killed on Bangalore City’s roads are motorcyclists. Of the victims classified as “severely injured” , nearly 76 per cent sustain head injuries, a figure 25 times higher than that in developed countries. The arguments for wearing a helmet are a no-brainer. The more I look around at our standards whether it’s in construction, road safety or even healthcare, I have come to believe that human life is valued very little in our country.
In the Armed Forces it is compulsory for the rider of a two-wheeler to wear a helmet and the penalties are severe enough that it has become de rigueur to wear one now. Pillion riders and children are only “encouraged” to wear helmets but I’m sure this too will soon be enforced. How simple it would be if we could enforce safety measures on the public as easily as you can in a defence establishment.
My favourite example of road safety is the way we Indians warn other drivers of a stalled car, truck or bus on the road or a hole that has been dug in the road for some maintenance underground. If you see a car or a part of the road that has branches of a shrub or tree sticking out of it, then it is to be avoided. One of those unwritten rules of the road. No reflective tape or cones or triangles.
I’ve seen some abysmal attempts at helmet safety education like – Wear a helmet – worry about head not hairstyle. But this is one of my favourites so far:
I’m always on the look out for interesting helmet education signs. Do send them in if you happen to capture them on camera or remember the wording. Ride safe…