We don’t need to dwell on the importance of a helmet while riding a two-wheeler. Helmet is the most basic and the most crucial riding gear one should don while riding. Indian helmet safety standards and the general rules surrounding the helmets have always been a little foggy. But now, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has issued a new guideline which states that all two-wheeler helmets will have to be BIS (Bureau of Indian Standards) certified and thus carry the ISI mark from 1 June 2021.
According to the ministry itself, this step was essential in eradicating the low-quality lids which are flooded in our markets. This will further enhance the safety of the rider, thus, bringing road fatalities down by a considerable margin.
There are a few implications though, which need to be done away in order to see a clear picture. If you are aware of the happenings in the Indian automotive scenario, you might remember a controversial guideline which was passed in 2018, stating that the weight of a helmet should not exceed 1.2 kg. Almost everyone was concerned about this because as you might know, almost every imported helmet weighs more than that. So this guideline basically prevented the sale of imported helmets in the country that did not carry the ISI mark and weighed considerably more than the allowed limit. But, the good news is, the revised norms allow the sale of imported helmets as long as they comply with the Indian standards. Needless to say, most of the imported helmets that are on sale currently will be able to comply with Indian standards.
As per the directions of the Supreme Court Committee on Road Safety for considering lighter helmets in India suiting the country’s climatic conditions and that for ensuring compliance amongst citizens to wear the helmets, a committee was formulated. The committee had experts from different fields, including expert doctors from AIIMS and also from BIS. Now, as per the recommendations of the committee, the BIS has revised specifications through which it is expected to make lighter helmets. With good competition in the Indian markets and with numerous helmet manufacturers, now it is expected that the competition would enable for good quality and lighter helmets demand.
The total number of two-wheelers being manufactured in India annually stands at about 1.7 crore. The International Road Federation, a Geneva-based global road safety body working for better and safer roads worldwide, welcomed the road transport ministry’s move to bring helmets for two-wheeler riders under the mandatory BIS regime.
“This much-awaited move means the sale of non-BIS certified helmets will be an offence once the notification comes to effect,” K K Kapila, president emeritus of the International Road Federation, said.