A alarming number of respondents of two-wheeler users (57%) admitted not wearing a helmet when on the road, while an even higher proportion of pillion riders (74%) neglected to wear one whilst riding, according to the result of a survey conducted by Exide Life Insurance.
The survey reveals a ‘false logic’ of India’s helmetless two-wheeler generation, which attributes this habit on their comfort and ‘force of habit’, which takes precedence over their safety, giving out details on the alarming road safety practices followed by two-wheeler community in India.
As part of its CSR initiative Exide Life Insurance undertook a survey on helmet usage practice among the Indian two-wheeler motorist. It found out that riders are basing their decision to ride helmetless for a variety of reasons; 13% due to the cost of a helmet, 16% believe that they are not required to by the law, 22% simply ride bare-headed due to a force of habit. Staggeringly, nearly a third (29%) admit to riding without a helmet for reasons of ‘comfort’.
In the case of pillion rider’s, the safety practice was particularly alarming – 23% of respondents believe that the pillion rider actually faces less risk than the rider of the two wheeler. Nearly a quarter (23%) of riders would allow a pillion rider without a helmet, and an equal proportion of pillion riders (24%) admit that they would accept such a lift, helmetless, if they were offered.
The survey conducted as part of its CSR initiative ‘Helmet Saves’ to highlight the issues of road safety across India, which finds two -wheelers to remain as one of the most unsafe modes of transport; wearing an appropriate helmet improves riders’ chances of surviving an accident by 42% and helps avoid up to 69% of injuries to riders.
With the accident rates in India showing no signs of coming down, helmets are more the norm than the exception on Indian roads. Incidentally, the survey points out that 1 out of every 4 bike riders would allow children to ride with them as pillion riders without a helmet, giving a shocking insight into the psyche of Indian riders who predominantly consider wearing helmets as an act of compliance rather than personal safety.
Mohit Goel, director – Marketing and Direct Channel, Exide Life Insurance, commented: “It is a known fact that helmets work for two-wheelers riders. Even though they don’t make you invincible, helmets decrease the severity of the injury. Yet, surprisingly, more than 70% of Indians admit to have ridden a bike as a rider without wearing a helmet. Unfortunately while parents realise that it should be mandatory for children to have the necessary safety gear in place while riding on two-wheelers, implementation of it, is not rigorously practised on a day to day basis. As the survey brings out, staggeringly, nearly a quarter (24%) of parents would allow their children to ride a two-wheeler helmetless, and a half see such child pillions riding unprotected at least once a day.”
He further states, “As a part of our Corporate Social Responsibility, we recently launched ‘Helmet Saves’, a comprehensive awareness program that underlines the necessity of wearing a helmet while riding a two wheeler. Launched using a combination of film, digital and on ground activation, the compelling narrative used in the program has received overwhelming response. It has become one of the top pieces of content being shared on social media with viewers asking their friends and family to ‘Always wear a helmet’ while they ride their two-wheelers. Through Helmet Saves we will continue to create awareness on the importance of wearing helmets to ensure reduction in the number of road traffic fatalities in the coming years.”