Gender Equality Of A Different Kind, Helmets To Become Compulsory For Women Riding Two-Wheelers In Chandigarh
- Why women were exempted from wearing helmets, the High Court earlier asked
- New notification says only Sikh women wearing turban will be exempted
- Public has 30-day period to submit objections and suggestions to the notifi
New Delhi: In a welcome move, the Chandigarh administration has now made it mandatory for women to wear helmets while riding two-wheelers in the city. The move comes in the wake of Punjab and Haryana High Court asking the Union Territory administration to control the increasing number of fatalities on the road involving two-wheeler women riders. According to the data provided by the city traffic police, Chandigarh witnessed 107 fatal road accidents in 2017 and 18 of the victims were women. Earlier this year, the high court had asked the Chandigarh administration about the rationale behind exempting all women from wearing helmets.
Following directions from the Punjab and Haryana high court, the union territory administration on April 24 made an amendment in the Chandigarh Motor Vehicle Rules, 1988, paving way for helmets becoming compulsory for women. The administration has issued a draft notification and invited objections and suggestions within 30 days.
“After going through the objections and suggestions received, the administration will issue a formal notification to make the helmet compulsory for all women drivers and pillion riders,” said an official of the Chandigarh administration.
Under the notification issued by the administration, only those Sikh women who wear a turban (headgear) will be exempted from wearing helmets. Under the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, the states and union territories are empowered to make certain exemptions for allowing people to not wear helmets. It is under this rule that the Union Territory had earlier exempted all women from wearing a helmet.
The notification has specifically inserted the words “a Sikh woman wearing a turban”, instead of the previous expression which states women are exempted from wearing helmets.
Talking to NDTV about the notification, Sita Devi, Inspector, Chandigarh Traffic Police said, “We are waiting for the notification to get approved. Right now, the administration has given a 30-day period to the public to submit objections and suggestions to the notification. If the notification is approved, any women seeking exemption from wearing helmet will be required to wear a turban, like a Sikh women do. Post the approval of this rule, the Chandigarh Traffic Police will ensure that women riding two-wheelers across the city wear helmets. Else, they will get challaned.”
In 2017, about 33,584 two-wheeler riders were challaned by Chandigarh traffic police for not wearing a helmet.
When asked about what Chandigarh Traffic Police will do to spread awareness among women to wear helmets, the Inspector said that we are already conducting awareness activities in schools, colleges and companies to motivate women to start wearing helmets – not just to abide by the law but for their own safety. Furthermore, to catch hold of young two-wheeler riders, the Chandigarh traffic police is also using social media to our advantage by regularly posting creatives with information of road safety regulations on our Twitter account.