Thursday, July 10, 2014

Helmet


Some time back our government made wearing helmet compulsory for all motor bike riders. The reason given for that was that it protects the rider in case there is any accident so that he/she falls on ground due to that. Many appeals were made to withdraw that rule but our HS refused to do so and that rule became mandatory for all motor bike riders.

After some time as we over see the effectiveness of this rule many concerned people told me that there are more problems created due to this rule than solved! First of all the very design of helmet is challenged by some experts of this topic. They told me that the design of the helmet has a rib like part at the back side and that is at the level of neck. When an accident takes place and if unfortunately, rider happens to fall in such a way that his neck hits on that rib there are most chances that the neck breaks causing immediate death. He told me many such accidents have been recorded in Europe where people ride bikes at very high speeds. There is more chance of death because of such wrongly designed helmet than not wearing it.

That is not all, the material used to make the helmet is so hard that it does not break on the impact and by that actually passes the force of impact directly to the scalp, possibly causing cracking of the scalp. Technically, speaking material of the helmet is supposed to take up the force of impact and break so that the force is relieved and scalp saved; but that does not happen in case of these helmets approved by our government. That means, the very purpose of forcing rider to wear it is lost; nobody cares. There are other more dangerous effects of these helmets. Rider cannot hear sounds of horns which help him understand the condition of the traffic. If the rider is not having sharp listening capacity he most of the time misses the warnings given by other vehicles and this has caused many hits on the road for which the rider is often held responsible. Whereas that is the fault of the helmet design.

Worst of all predicaments caused by these helmets is increase in cases of chain snatching, purse snatching, pinching buttocks of women, molesting passing girls by helmet wearing riders and pillion riders. Because the rider is not visible as his head is almost completely covered by the headgear people cannot identify who did the chain snatching. In these types of crimes both rider and pillion rider wear helmet and the pillion rider does the snatching. Now there is a question of priorities. What is more important? Safety of the rider or safety of walkers on the road? Our law makers are not intelligent enough to distinguish between it and they prefer to give priority to safety of rider above safety of walkers. Many untoward things keep happening as antisocial element is very good in taking advantages of our weak law system. That means a better design of helmet is the need of the time and if somebody comes with a better design so that all above given shortcomings are overcome; we should welcome it.

I have done some homework on these shortcomings and here I wish to put my suggestions, anybody who may try to use them and improve upon the present design of helmet that should be welcome. Before we go in that let us see some other types of head protecting gears those are in use today. Here I am referring to head gear recommended for cyclists. They are safe from all angles as far as our above discussion goes. Then why not allow them for motorbike riders? Counter argument says, cyclists do not ride cycles at speed bike riders do. They argue that impact due to high speed is much more and so a better protection required. This argument amused me because impact has more to do with the weight of the rider than the speed. If riders are heavy impact will be more as his weight matters in such cases. Bike riders at speed of the rate 60 to 70 miles per hour whereas a cyclists speed up to 50 to 60; that means the difference is not so much that a completely different design is recommended. At the most a more robust design provided but there is no need to make a total difference in the design so that it becomes cumbersome to wearer and create other problems. There are other types of headgears available for comparison. Helmet used by cricketers or those used by football or hockey goalie. These headgears are offering all round protection to the player. They allow other people to see his face and above all there is one advantage that person wearing it cannot use cell phone as it is not possible to listen from outside the cage that covers the face. One complain against it is that it does not offer enough protection if person falls head on. For that an air cushion can be fitted inside and that will solve the problem. If these headgears are allowed to be used for bike riders as the faces of riders and pillion riders are open there will be marked reduction in above mentioned, chain snatching, purse snatching, pinching buttocks of women, molesting passing girls, criminal cases.

One designer told me that if these helmets are allowed for use on bikes, a folding design of these helmets will be possible and that shall solve one other nasty problem of keeping them when rider is not using it, when the bike is parked very often rider has to carry it with him to the place he goes and that makes it a nuisance. Present design has a big problem and that is it is not folding. To sum up I would suggest that much is yet to be done on this issue and I hope my tips will encourage young people, who have to use them, in furthering more debate on this subject. I hope, some intelligent designer may come with a better design of helmet.

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