The Bengaluru traffic police have written to the Karnataka transport department, seeking clarity on allowing imported helmets, with international quality certifications, on Bengaluru roads.
The move comes a day after several upset bikers in the city wrote to the traffic police against the department’s decision to allow helmets with ISI marks only, and not the imported helmets adhering to the international standards.
Although the transport department is yet to give an official communication to the traffic police, in statement to the media, the Karnataka transport commissioner B Dayananda said it is common sense that traffic police must allow imported helmets, if they are safer than ISI ones.
On Monday, the Bengaluru traffic police chief’s Twitter handle was been flooded with angry questions, disapproval and protests, after he announced that only helmets bearing ISI marks will be allowed on the road, and those without an ISI mark, even if they have international standard certification, will be considered as illegal.
R Hithendra, additional commissioner of police (traffic) on Monday said that as the rules clearly mention helmets with ISI mark only, cops have no option but to follow the law and take action against helmets with international certifications.
However, Twitter was quick to react and many expressed their concerns over cops not allowing helmets with higher quality and insisting on helmets with ISI marks.
This decision will impact several motorists in Bengaluru, who have invested in helmets with international safety certificates like United States' DoT (Department of Transportation) and Europe's ECE (Economic Commission for Europe). As these imported helmets cost anywhere between Rs 20,000 to Rs 70,000, many motorists will be forced to get cheaper helmets with ISI marks.
Stating that the police have to follow the rules laid down by the government, Hithendra said that law clearly mentions the use of ISI mark helmets. Referring to Section 230 of Karnataka Motor Vehicle Rules, he further added that there is no exception for helmets with an international standard.
When asked about why the rules haven’t been changed, he hoped the lawmakers are taking note of the issue.
The debate over the quality of helmets came about after the government went on a drive against cheap plastic helmets, without any safety certifications. Following this, the state government brought in a rule that only helmets with ISI marks will be allowed on the streets from 1 February.
Motorists now hope that the government will change the rule to accommodate helmets with international safety certifications.