Blogs

Aninda’s blog: Intent and the law

Intent and Law

All too often good intent is lost in the framing of ill conceived laws that create greater impediments for those who already conform.

I’m sorry if I sounded like a philosopher from back in the day when squiggly lines didn’t help you correct grammar or spelling. Those lines are in fact a pretty good summary of what I feel about this new rule that’s under consideration about non-ISI certified helmets. As a matter of fact, it’s a direct result of my conversation with Rajeev Kapur, president of the ISI Helmet Manufacturers’ Association.

During my discussion with him I realised that the idea and the original intent behind the demand for such a rule is not only legitimate but also necessary. India has a staggering number of two-wheeler users. SIAM’s officially published data suggests that a mind boggling 17.6 million two-wheelers were sold in India in just 2016-17; 16.5 million were sold the year before and nearly 16 million in 2014-15. We don’t yet have the data for 2017-18, but with every motorcycle manufacturer operating in India having sent us press releases month after month showcasing a wonderful growth story, I’d be surprised if we aren’t closer to the 18 million mark this year.

Those numbers also indicate the need for proper helmets, a pair to each of those sales, accounting for a rider and a pillion. As a motorcycle rider myself and having ridden in various conditions and countries, I cannot stress enough the importance of the need for helmets. Yet, the sad fact is that only a fraction of these people will ever even consider donning a lid before kicking their motorcycling career into life. A vast majority of the ones who do wear a lid often choose to spend on sub standard helmets sold cheaply on pavements, and occasionally even in bonafide shops. Helmets that will save the rider from a traffic cop’s ire but will certainly not help save anything at the moment of truth when the man hits the road after a crash. For that kind of protection you’ll need to invest (note the use of invest as opposed to spend) in a proper helmet that has gone through a gamut of testing and has been certified by nothing less than the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) by the ubiquitous ISI certification.

It is precisely for this that we need a law, or at least an amendment to existing law, that will necessitate a helmet user to use a lid that carries an ISI certification at the very least. It’s a legitimate demand and one that should help save lives. The only part of this that I did not get, at all, was why a helmet that has already been certified should have to be certified again. If a helmet has already been tested for impact and it already conforms to crash norms, why can I not use it?

Secondly, if I already have a good helmet why should I be penalised for it? Is it not obvious that if I have spent good money on a good helmet, certified by another agency, that will provide adequate crash protection on a race circuit I am actually keenly interested in saving my skull on? Am I not conforming then with the intent of those who seek the ban on non-ISI helmets? After all, I am as eager to save my head as they are. More than that, I have already put my money where my mouth is and have acquired this critical piece of safety gear. I suspect, it’s another case of great intent diluted by a draft of a policy that hasn’t been thought out to the very end. The silver lining is that the draft is still a draft and there is still time to consider every aspect of this new law. Hopefully, the country’s law makers are listening and will agree.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

To Top