"Helmets are important and there is no two ways about it. I hope a decision is reached fast and implemented soon as well, she said."
New Delhi, April 29 - The Election Commission - has given the transport department its go-ahead to make changes in the rules to make helmets mandatory for women riders here and it has been welcomed by women riders and activists.

Though the final implementation may take some time, women pillion riders welcomed the move saying such a rule would only lead to their safety.

The final decision to amend the Delhi Motor Vehicle Rules will be taken by Lt. Governor Najeeb Jung after considering the suggestions received from the public.

Women riders, however, are already cheering the move.

Helmets are a safety precaution. There should be no gender division involved when it comes to the issue of safety. It is as important as wearing a seat belt, Arunita Tiwari, a 21-year-old student who frequently rides bike with her brother, told IANS Tuesday.

You cannot argue that only men should wear seat belts, so why this fuss over us wearing helmets? Our safety is also important, she added.

The notice by the transport department to make helmets mandatory for women was received by the EC last week, said Delhi Chief Electoral Officer Vijay Dev.

We have our own parameters to check such notices, and give approvals, Dev told IANS.

On being asked if this is a violation of the Model Code of Conduct in place till May 16, Dev said under the EC orders, routine administrative decisions could be taken in states where polling has already been conducted.

A detailed process will follow, which also invite suggestions from the pillion riders. Jung will take the final call based on the suggestions and recommendations received by the transport department, Dev said.

According to a recent World Health Organization report, India has the highest number of road deaths in a year in the world - 105,725 deaths, followed by China -, the US - and Russia -.

Activist Ulhas PR filed a petition in the Delhi High Court in 2011, seeking amendments in the Delhi Motor Vehicle Rules to make helmets mandatory for women riders.

I am more than happy that the EC did not further delay the issue, and gave it their green signal. The previous government has not paid heed to the gravity of the issue and ignored it, Ulhas said.

According to the Motor Vehicle Act and Rules, Sikhs wearing turbans and women are exempted from wearing helmets while riding motor-cycles and scooters.

Accidents are not religion-specific and can happen to anyone. I want to assert that this rule should also apply to the Sikh community, who in the past objected to the move, Ulhas said.

Prince Singhal, an activist who founded the NGO Campaign Against Drunken Driving, said the community should respect the decision and the issue should not be politicised.

However, Singhal, who welcomed the move, was quick to add that it should be implemented to the T.

It is essential to implement the law. But, why should it only be limited to Delhi? It should be applied pan-India. A life lost only adds to the total number of fatalities. I hope the Supreme Court mandates it to be a nation-wide law, Singhal said.

Welcoming the move, Kanica Walia, a student of journalism, said the issue should not need so much debate, as it deals with a person's safety.

Helmets are important and there is no two ways about it. I hope a decision is reached fast and implemented soon as well, she said.

Special Commissioner of Police - Taj Hassan told IANS that though the notification time is not fixed, once the notice is issued by the transport department, the police will start issuing challans to women riders too, if they do not wear the helmets.


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