Mumbai Since the Mumbai traffic police started penalising pillion riders as well for not wearing helmets, 25,076 pillion riders have been caught in the last 10 days across the city.
Out of the 25,076, the highest number of pillion riders have been caught in the South region at 10,948, since the drive started on June 9 at the behest of city police commissioner Sanjay Pandey.
The data further revealed that apart from pillion riders, they also penalised 15,994 helmetless riders. In as many as 2,745 cases, both pillion riders and riders were penalised for not wearing helmets. The traffic officials said that under the law, two-wheeler owners should demand helmets from the dealership when they buy bikes.
However, many motorists said that the law is just harassment. “It is not practical to carry two helmets on a motorcycle with no storage space,” said Nilesh Parulekar (53), a resident of Kandivali, who travels on the Western Expressway till Seepz in Andheri daily on his motorcycle. He added that he doesn’t offer lifts to colleagues or friends because of the fine.
Meanwhile, Raj Tilak Roushan, deputy commissioner of police (Traffic) said, “It will take time to change the mindset of people that the law is for their safety and not to harass them.”
However, talking about helmet safety issues, Dr Rita Savla, the founder and director of RADHEE Disaster and Education Foundation, said, “There is a big gap in demand and supply and hence, fake ISI standard helmets are being sold. With a fake ISI standard helmet, during any untoward incident, the life of the rider or pillion rider will be equally in danger as without a helmet.”
The traffic police on May 25 had issued a notification and given 15 days of warning to helmet-less pillion riders. On June 9, when the police had begun the special drive, the maximum number of cases were found in the south region with 2,100 out of the 2,334 filed across Mumbai.
Roushan had said then, “We have observed that the maximum number of pillion riders in Mumbai do not wear helmets. We issued a notice and gave the citizens 15 days only, after which we have started penalising.” He added that on an average, at least 200 helmetless bikers were fined daily.
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