In a relief for many two-wheeler riders in Bengaluru who had invested in a more expensive foreign helmet brand for the purpose of road safety, they will not be penalised.
The city’s traffic police has called off the proposed move to penalise riders wearing non-ISI marked helmets.
The move was set to come into effect from February 1 and the traffic police had planned to fine riders Rs. 100 for each violation.
The decision to call off the enforcement of the non-ISI rule was taken after Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) officials clarified that the ISI mark was not the only measure of a helmet’s standards of safety.
“We have been informed that conformity to BIS standard cannot be established visually. We will have to send the helmets to the labs, then for elaborate tests to confirm whether the prescribed standards are fulfilled. We will carry on with our awareness drive but will not penalise riders with non-ISI helmets,” said R Hithendra, Additional Commissioner, Bengaluru city traffic police, speaking to Bangalore Mirror.
The cops were initially asked to penalise riders wearing non-ISI mark helmets, even imported ones which conform to global standards and are highly expensive.
The social media accounts of the city’s traffic police were flooded with memes and queries from bikers using high-end imported helmets expressing outrage over the decision.
After the lukewarm response to its idea, the traffic police then wrote to the BIS in New Delhi asking for clarity on the issue.
Currently, there is no clarity in the law on whether imported helmets that follow safety standards in other countries are allowed in India.
The city traffic police department had initiated a safety awareness drive advocating the use of proper headgear for two-wheeler users.
Police had said that half helmets and helmets without ISI certification or those that do not comply with the BIS, would be counted as no helmet.
However, the majority opinion is that helmets with ECE or DOT certifications are much safer than ISI-marked helmets.
An automobile journalist Moinak Pal told TNM, “These helmets are much more expensive, often 10 times that of ISI helmets. The DOT and ECE certified helmets are always better than their ISI counterparts. Helmet brands like Arai, HJC and AGV are used in motorsports like MotoGP and Formula One because they have better safety and higher level of crash protection.”
Moreover, these standards are also approved by the BIS, the same body which approves ISI helmets.