Bring your helmets along, Islamabad police tell hitchhikers

Headgear made mandatory for pillion riding women, children in capital


Arsalan Altaf October 10, 2017
Traffic police distributed free helmets and held a bike safety rally on Friday before starting a crackdown on Monday. PHOTO: EXPRESS

ISLAMABAD: In a bold move, the capital is aiming to become the first city in the country to successfully enforce the use of helmets for all motorbike riders — including those riding pillion.

After completing a month-long campaign to educate motorcyclists about the importance of using helmets, the authorities are all set to implement the new regulations from tomorrow (October 11).

The Islamabad Traffic Police (ITP) has announced that starting from Wednesday morning, it will be mandatory for everyone riding on motorbikes, including women and children riding pillion, to wear helmets. Those found hanging their helmets and violating the regulations will be ticketed the same way motorbike riders are.

However, enforcing the new regulation will be a challenge for the police who have not yet ensured 100 per cent implementation of helmet use by motorbike riders. Moreover, several policemen travel without donning the helmet on vehicles not sporting any licence plates.

At a media briefing on Monday, SSP-Traffic Malik Matloob sidestepped questions about how he would enforce the new regulation when officials responsible for enforcing the law flout them openly.

He, however, assured that he would ensure that all traffic police personnel riding on motorbikes wear helmets.

“Motorbike pillion riders are as vulnerable to head injuries and their lives are as important as the riders are. This is why we are enforcing the use of helmets for pillion riders too,” Matloob explained. He stressed on the need for people to understand the importance of road safety.

The initiative follows a month-long educational drive by the ITP in which thousands of road users, the traffic police claimed, were sensitised about the use of helmets. The police also distributed over 300 helmets, provided by sponsors, among commuters.

To a question, SSP Matloob said that a motorcycle rider will be penalised if the pillion rider is not wearing a helmet.

Asked what should hundreds of policemen and ordinary people do who commute by hitching rides on motorbikes, Matloob advised that should better bring their helmets with them.

Meanwhile, SP-Traffic Khalid Rashid explained that the fine for not wearing a helmet will be Rs100 each — to be imposed on both the rider and the pillion if the latter is not wearing a helmet.

To provide pillion riders with an incentive to wear helmets, the ITP said they have requested the district administration to bind motorbike showrooms in the capital to provide two helmets with ever motorbike sold in the city.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 10th, 2017.

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