The older you get, the harder it is to change. Civic sense is best inculcated when you are young. Picking up on these two tenets, the Ahmedabad Traffic Police is launching a programme for helmet awareness targeting kids. In partnership with SBI Life Insurance, which has already launched a similar initiative with the traffic police in Jaipur, the programme aims to persuade kids riding pillion on two-wheelers to wear helmets.
Addressing a news conference in Ahmedabad on Monday, SBI Life President M Anand compared buying a helmet to taking out a life insurance policy. “Rs 1500 invested in a helmet secures the future of your loved ones. This is the message we want to take to the people of Ahmedabad,” he said.
SBI Life distributed sleek designer helmets to several kids during the launch function organised at Sardar Patel Stadium in Navrangpura, which was attended by senior officers of the Ahmedabad Traffic Police. Baldevsinh Vaghela, DCP Traffic Administration said that 60% of fatal traffic accidents in the city involved pedestrians and two wheelers and 50% of the victims are young people, who are the breadwinners for their families.
Safin Hasan, DCP Traffic for Ahmedabad East said that when drivers are stopped for not wearing helmets on the city roads, they say they are only going someplace nearby or that helmets give them a headache and spoil their hair-do. “The fact is, people are averse to change. Parents do not wear helmets, so they cannot tell their children to do so. But as the recent accident on SG Highway shows, youngsters need to learn to drive by the rules. More people have died in traffic accidents for wont of a helmet than from Covid pandemic, when everyone wore masks,” he said.
Nita Desai, DCP Traffic for Ahmedabad West said that wearing a helmet needs to become a habit for two-wheeler drivers, just as seat belts have become for four-wheelers. She narrated the story of a young lady involved in a traffic accident at Shivranjini Crossroads, who is now a helmet-evangelist: “The accident was so severe that her helmet split in two. But it saved her from sure death. 90% of the fatalities in two-wheeler accidents are caused by head injuries,” she said.
SBI Life’s Regional Director, Ahmedabad, Amit Saha, said that the need of the hour is to instil a sense of civic culture in the city’s youth. “We need to prepare a whole generation. If children wear a helmet when riding pillion today, it will become a habit that will stay with them,” he said.
The function featured a demonstration for giving first aid to traffic accident victims, conducted by Indian Red Cross Society, Gujarat Branch. It ended with a motorcycle rally by the Ahmedabad traffic police, carrying placards on road safety.