AHMEDABAD: You might be at a major crossroads in the city at 11.30pm and awed to see vehicles patiently waiting for the traffic light to turn green — and most two-wheeler riders wearing helmets. No, it’s not Mumbai or Delhi — it’s our own Ahmedabad that has finally learnt to honour the red light.
City police, after a major corrective drive against illegal parking and flouting of safety norms last year, had commissioned Cept University to measure the impact of the drive. The initial results are encouraging. Prof H M Shivanand Swamy, executive director of Centre of Excellence in Urban Transport at CEPT, shared the findings on Monday, noting that they found about 53% overall adherence to wearing helmets.
“We had chosen 15 major junctions randomly in the city representing different socio-economic profiles and had procured video footage of four different timings from morning to late night in January. We found that adherence to helmet rule and stop-line has gone up significantly. Earlier figures mentioned about 25% of two-wheeler drivers wearing helmets,” he said. Is the change brought about by the stringent e-challan system - churning out over 30,000 challans daily? Swami said punitive action is definitely a major component of the change, but more than that, it has to do with forming positive habits.
“We found that those who wear helmets regularly have started wearing it irrespective of timings. About obeying the stop-line, I would say that it’s the power of one — we tend to look at the person going ahead of us rather than the signal. So if one person stops the vehicle, all at the junction follows the rule and vice versa,” he said.
A K Singh, city police commissioner, said that it’s a positive sign that those wearing helmets are now in majority on city roads. “It would lead to positive community norms and peer pressure. The study has also pointed at positive change at major junctions like Dufnala. We are making lot of effort to engage the community for safety. I am also happy about the popularity of helmets among women riders,” he said.
Cept officials said that Ahmedabad figures clearly show that two-wheeler riders form the majority of fatal accident victims. “Helmets surely reduce impact of collisions. In the next phase of study, we will cover the quality of helmets and how many riders wear it properly,” said Swamy.