Motorcycle safety campaigners are taking the Delhi government to the High Court over the issue of women pillion passengers wearing crash helmets when riding on the back of motorcycles. The government is so far opposing moves to make wearing a helmet compulsory, as it is unpopular with some women who do not want to have their hairdo ruined by wearing a helmet!
Keep you hair on!
The government in Delhi is wary of bringing this law in, as it believes that this is a 'sensitive issue' and does not want to incur the wrath of women pillion passengers who have always enjoyed the right to ride pillion side-saddle and without a helmet. However now women's rights campaigners want a law brought into force which will make it compulsory for all women riders to be properly protected with a helmet when riding on a motorcycle.
Previously the government only exempted Sikh men and women from wearing crash helmets, but subsequently bowed to pressure and extended it to all women because of their hair concerns.
Get ahead? Get a hat!
The campaign to make helmet wearing legal for all women on motorcycles has cited a rise in female motorcycle deaths as a reason to bring in a compulsory crash helmet law. They have pointed out to the government that many of these fatalities were of women riding pillion on motorcycles and scooters without the protection of a helmet.
This position is backed up by a report by the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences which states:
"Research in the past two decades has shown that wearing a helmet reduces the risk of severity of injuries by 72 per cent, decreases the likelihood of death by 39 per cent and consequently brings down the costs of healthcare."
A brush with the law
Women who oppose the compulsory helmet law say that they spend a lot of money and a long time getting their hair done everyday and making it look beautiful and they claim that wearing a helmet over it messes it up and makes it sweaty. The attempt to bring in a helmet law for women has already been tried in Goa and was very controversial, meeting with a lot of resistance from women.
In an attempt to diffuse women's wrath, the International Road Federation, who support the compulsory introduction of crash helmets for all women, said that they would happily give women combs and brushes so that they could sort their hair out after taking their helmets off, if this would persuade them to reconsider and put safety first! However this provision of hairbrushes probably won't be a massively influential deciding factor in the debate!
Bad hair day
It remains to be seen whether the 'helmet hair' or the women's safety lobby will win the battle as the Delhi government faces the challenge in the High Court.