A Grieving Dad’s Appeal: Wear A Helmet And Make Indian Roads Safer
55-year-old Pradeep Niphadkar has been on a road safety mission for last one and a half years. He’s been distributing helmets all over Maharashtra for free in order to create awareness about why riding a two-wheeler with a helmet is important. He has distributed over 1000 free helmets in many villages and has made an ardent appeal to the people of Maharashtra – “Stop a woman, if you spot her riding without the helmet and gift her one.”
Pradeep’s daughter Pranjali, who was a dancer and a young mother, was on her way to a dance rehearsal when she was hit by a speeding two-wheeler in Pune. Her head hit a sharp stone and that’s when the 27-year-old lost her life. Soon, after this tragic incident, Pradeep started a NGO named Helmet Pune with a mission to make Pune roads safer and to try and ensure that no other father loses his daughter in this tragic way. The NGO spreads awareness about the importance of helmets.
After Pranjali’s death, many people started coming to our house to give their message of condolence. That’s when I decided, I will let my well-wishers know that they can help me prevent such tragedies from happening in the future. I asked them to purchase a helmet and gift it to any women drivers who they see is riding without her helmet, added Pradeep who is a journalist by profession.
Pradeep also asked people to send their selfies to him whenever they did something like this. He also added, “Do it for yourself. All the girls in the state are our daughters and they should not go away in such a tragic way.”
He lives with his wife in Pune and apart from distributing helmets for free; he is often seen conducting lectures in colleges and offices, where he talks about the benefits of wearing a helmet. Pradeep’s road safety mission is being backed by all his family members and friends.
Our mission is to make people all over India aware about helmets, we are not very rich and that’s why we need everyone’s support in our endeavour, says Pradeep.
He also added that he’s not very happy about the quality of helmets being produced in India for now. “We have seen the evolution of smart phones in our country, but can we say the same for helmets?”
2-Wheelers Are Most Fatal On The Roads
Indian roads are the most unsafe roads in the world. According to the latest data on road safety released in 2015, road fatalities have increased by 5.1 percent from 1,41,526 in 2014 to 1,48,707 in 2015. Two wheelers accounted for maximum fatal road accidents (43,540), which is almost 29.3 percent of the total deaths caused by road accidents. These numbers could have been significantly lower, if the riders wore proper helmets.
A recent study by United Nations also suggests that about 15,000 lives across the world can be saved each year, if riders start wearing appropriate helmets.
Currently, Pradeep is also working with many helmet manufacturers so that he can come up with the idea of lighter helmets that are designed in an artistic manner.
Pradeep also met Diwakar Raote, Mumbai Transport Minister, and gave him some suggestions about how the government can help with new and better helmet designs. He believes that the government will soon work out something.