Once again the ‘helmet rule’ fever has gripped the State. . It seems that the government is very concerned about public safety, because when a rider meets with an accident without wearing a helmet he can be seriously injured - with head injuries which could prove fatal. The accident victim could even die. Therefore, whether the decision to enforce helmet rule under section 129 of Central Motor Vehicle Act is a good or bad one is yet to be known, because the helmet only protects head injuries and not about every part of the human body, which is equally important. Wearing a helmet cannot prevent an accident, but accidents can surely be prevented in many ways. It is very evident that our prized roads – both urban and rural- are potholed and uneven. Road Traffic rules are not strictly enforced by our men in white/blue for vehicles. Also, our highways/village roads have become sanctuary for stray cattle. Heavy and/or light vehicles are parked on the roadside. Highways and village roads are in darkness –without street lights. Roads are oily and slippery roads due to the washing of cars and repairs of two wheelers near every spare part store.
Village roads are becoming narrow due to the encroachment of illegal compound walls. People are either talking on their mobile phones or listening to music while riding their motorbikes or driving their cars. There is no discipline while riding or driving – with motorists being rash and flouting traffic rules. Head light beams are not properly painted. Given, such a situation, unfortunately to make matters worse, there are no traffic cops manning the traffic in cities and on national highways. When these problems are the root cause of accidents, the government has not made it its priority to improve the condition of our roads and traffic monitoring safety. How then can the government be eager to enforce helmet rule such pathetic conditions and decrease the rate of accident related deaths on Goan roads?
In all likelihood it seems safety is a farce – conducting road safety week on the theme ‘Kill your speed, not innocent people’, seminars on road safety awareness among students on road safety, only remains on paper. NGOs seem to be hand- in- glove on this issue. Obtaining views of Ministers, MLAs, Municipalities, Zillas and Panchayats the on the decision of the helmet rule is an eyewash. The helmet rule must be enforced only after obtaining the views of the public and leave them to decide to wear or not to wear for one’s safety. If it is forced otherwise, it seems likely that government policies on this issue have been made to protect the interest of the helmet manufacturers lobby in the name of public safety.