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Bikers paid Rs. 27 Cr fine instead of wearing helmet

‘76,539 cases booked and Rs 47 lakh fined in 2016’

‘Psychologist Dr S V Nagnath said the fine was too low, which is why bikers did not take the enforcement drive seriously’

HYDERABAD: Section 129 of the Motor Vehicles Act makes wearing a helmet on a two-wheeler mandatory.

An approx of 18 lakh cases were booked against two-wheeler riders without helmets in 2016.Bikers paid Rs 27.74 crore in fines for riding without helmets, despite the fine for each offence being a paltry Rs 200 for the first offence.

Police booked 76,539 cases and fined drivers Rs 47 lakh in 2016.

Data from the police department shows that Section 129 of the Motor Vehicles Act, which makes wearing a helmet on a two-wheeler mandatory, was violated the most in 2016 compared to other provisions of the act.

Police slowed down the drive after demonetisation on November 8.

Police started cracking down on two-wheeler riders in March 2016. The penalty for being caught riding without a helmet for the first time was Rs 200, Rs 300 for the second offence, and Rs 500 and a daylong counselling session for the third offence.

“It was a prolonged drive to enforce wearing of helmets. The special drive was launched in March and continued up to November 8. Some people did start wearing helmets but many preferred to pay the fine. Some two-wheeler riders carry the helmet and wear it when they see a traffic cop,” said deputy commissioner of police (traffic) A V Ranganath.

Experts said counselling alone is not enough, the fine should be increased.

“Fine was too low, which is why bikers did not take the enforcement drive seriously,” said Psychologist Dr S V Nagnath.

“They think that most special enforcement drives do not last long. They were sure it would be discontinued, and it was after demonetisation,” he said.

He said two-wheeler riders think they will lose hair if they wear a helmet. “They are willing to face dust, air and noise pollution but will not wear helmets. Police should point out the safety and health benefits of wearing helmets. Unless people realise this, no special drive will achieve results,” Nagnath said.

Data from the traffic police show 50% of the 5,900 road accidents happened to be two- wheelers in 2016.