Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Helmet Law



















These guys have been stopped by the police for riding their motorbikes without a helmet. "Negotiations" are going on, and people are let off after money changes hands, and by that I don't mean that the guy pays the fine and gets a receipt. Many people ride without helmets even if they have them because it is very hot, or because they want to talk on cell phone!! The law does not require the pillion rider to wear a helmet!! Policemen wait on streets in groups to catch helmetless riders. When they see one, they waive him down. Sometimes the riders speed up instead of slowing down and are able to get away. But at other times, the policeman tries to hit the rider with his stick if he tries to speed up!! In one such incident a youngster lost his life after falling from his bike. There were several minor accidents due to this crude approach. Now the police are beginning to issue an e-ticket (called an "e-challan" here) which arrives by mail after the policeman notes down the number or gets a video. They do this for several things including driving/riding while talking on cell phone, for riding without a helmet, and more recently for driving with number plates which have fancy (difficult to read) lettering. The other day I saw a policman with a small video camera filming the number plates of vehicles at a stop light. But some people have fake licences or fake addresses, so they don't get these tickets. If they have given a fake address, they get caught when they go to renew their licences and have upaid fines. The DMV (Dept of Motor Vehicles, which is called RTA here - Road Transport Authority) is quite modern now and waiting time is said to be less than at the DMV in the US! But I keep hearing that it is still possible to get a license without taking a test (either written or driving), as long as you show up to get your picture taken, if you find a right broker.

When the helmet law was put into effect, there was a mad rush to buy helmets. But they did not have enough helmets and so they were being sold in the black market at a premium. Even in helmets there are fake ones!! There was an uproar when people got fined when enough helmets were not made available at the dealers. So they extended the deadline - several times! Only helmets that bear the ISI (Indian Standards Institute) mark are said to be genuine, although I don't know how anyone would know if the fake ones also carry that same mark....

The motto of the traffic police painted on the red pedestal reads: "For You With You All Ways" (sic)

"It is a great mystery why the kamikaze pilots wore helmets." -Unknown

7 comments:

Wendy said...

I'm back. I find your blog to be interesting. Got tickled at the end of reading your post, by the question about Kamikazi pilots.

Which Main? What Cross? said...

Thank u. I'm glad u like my pics. And I think you choose beautiful subjects. It's just that you should spend an extra minute to compose your pictures better. That's all. The camera does not really matter.

Jules said...

I also love the Kamikazi pilots' quote - maybe it was so they didn't accidently knock themselves out before they bom bdived into the ships????

julia said...

Always something going on - such as helmets! I hope the helmets are saving lives. Mobiles come in handy for the police photography, what about the permanent cameras that catch us out here. Some say it is more about making revenue than about safety.

Neva said...

An interesting question about the Kamikazi pilots! Helmets are a necessary item I shoud think for heads on a motorcyle...but here in the US, some states do no require them to wear one....guess if they want to exercise their right to be an organ donor, have at it!

FĂ©nix (Bostonscapes DP) said...

As Neva said, here, in the US, some states do no require to wear a helmet. However, we probably have less than a 1000th of the motorcyclists you have in India (and most people here use them for joyrides only).

smilnsigh said...

Yes, I think the Kamikazi pilots wore them, to be sure they were safe, to get to their target.

Mari-Nanci
Photos-City-Mine