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Ikjot’s blog: Ban on non ISI helmets – a boon or a concern?

Keep calm and keep your lid on, says Ikjot. The impending law banning all non-ISI certified helmets might just be a great thing for the Indian biker.

What will happen to the DOT, ECE and Snell certified helmets?

Recently, I came across this news that helmets that don’t meet ISI standards will soon be banned and thereafter a challan would be issued and appropriate fine would be collected by the traffic police. Subsequently, I also found various articles around it and about the fate of DOT and ECE helmets in the aftermath of the new law. Riders were fuming that helmets that are less safe than the DOT and ECE certified ones would be made legal as long as they carried the ISI certification. Like the average motorcyclist, in many places, the cops were also equally confused. There were reports of traffic police visually examining the helmets for its quality and that they were picking out random motorcyclists over suspicion of using helmets that didn’t comply with norms and requirements.

Unnecessary chaos

Some suggested that they could send the helmets to the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) that provides the ISI certification for further checking to establish if the helmets were safe or not. The idea was that once the BIS delivered its verdict then the cops could give out a challan. In effect, a lot of chaos that was seriously not required. But amongst all of this chaos lay the main objective which most forgot about. To ensure that no matter what range of helmet you buy it should be an authentic and certified product. Because the safety of an individual cannot be compromised and safety is a right. What this helmet checking and banning drive aimed to achieve was to crackdown on helmet makers who were using loopholes and lack of enforcement to slip in products that looked ISI certified but would actually do a very poor job of protecting us. In fact, our markets are filled with such fake products and news of deaths caused by them.

 “The main objective is to ensure that no matter what range of helmet you buy it should be an authentic and certified product. Because the safety of an individual cannot be compromised and safety is a right.”

Also I find it to be a good move for a nation that is trying to setup and define its regulations for vehicle emissions, crash testing, fuel emissions and now the helmet rating. I find it emancipating for the Indian manufacturers as they won’t have to look at international standards to create something. Whereas it will now be binding on unregistered sellers to start conforming to laws and stop duping people. Helmets and their ratings are a set guideline based on various tests like its ability to withstand force and rotational forces, ability to dissipate force in a manner that the rider even in a crash has the least or no injuries. Even the straps are designed to endure a huge amount of load put on it directly for different durations, which most choose to ignore. For example both DOT and ECE marked helmets need to have a peripheral vision through an arc of 105 degrees from the helmet midline. Even the ISI marked helmets have very precise requirements such as these to ensure quality, safety and also affordability. It would be great to see all the other brand helmets to also have ISI marks on them.

“Helmets and their ratings are a set guideline based on various tests like its ability to withstand force and rotational forces, ability to dissipate force in a manner that the rider even in a crash has the least or no injuries.”

Although this law is still being evaluated, the fact that talks have started on how to enforce use of proper helmets is heartening. More so, if the new law can ensure no inconvenience is caused to people who choose to follow the law.

Read more from Ikjot Singh Bhasin’s blog on Honda, Norton and John McGuinness here.

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