Motorists riding two-wheelers without helmets will be ineligible for insurance compensation if they are involved in accidents, rules the High Court in Karnataka, a southwestern state of which the capital is Bengaluru.
In addition, the helmets must have been certified by the ISI (Indian Standards Institute), the court said in a recent case. This is the first time that the courts have enforced quality standards on helmets worn by two-wheeler riders. Law enforcement agencies of the country’s various states are expected to start enforcing this rule strictly.
A non-ISI helmet may be of inferior quality and unable to provide adequate protection against the impact of a motor collision. However, exemptions have been made for those who use foreign-brand helmets. Many riders wear imported helmets which bear the stamp of the Economic Commission for Europe or of the US Department of Transportation.
A total of 480,652 road accidents took place in India in 2016, claiming 150,785 lives and inflicting serious injuries on 494,624 persons. About 30% of the accidents involved two-wheelers, road transport data show.
More than 70% of Indians admit to have ridden a bike as a rider without wearing a helmet, according to a recent national survey by Exide Life Insurance. The percentage for pillion riders is said to be higher.