Traffic cops book over 6,000 for violating helmet law
By Anjum Gill
LAHORE: The city police strictly enforced the new helmet law on Tuesday and fined motorcyclists who were without helmets Rs 100. However, the law was only applied to civilians, with many policemen, including the Tiger Squad, riding their bikes without helmets.
The police issued 6,173 tickets and challaned 194 motorcyclists for not possessing documents and helmets.
Helmet shops did good business, hiking prices as scores of people bought helmets at the last minute. Helmets that were priced at Rs 250 earlier were being sold for Rs 600 on February 28 and March 1. Helmets that were of a marginally better quality were being sold for Rs 1,500.
Some pranksters saw opportunity in yesterday’s enforcement of the new helmet law. They wore thick yellow plastic caps, those used by LESCO’s field staff, and made fun of the authorities.
Some people put their old helmets in use by getting them repaired and painted. Even the shopkeepers were selling repaired helmets at low prices.
On January 6, the Punjab government decided to make it compulsory for all motorcyclists to wear helmets. The government had given people 60 days to purchase helmets but the ban was enforced yesterday (March 1), five days before the grace period was supposed to end.
On August 1, 2004, 1,831,081 motorcycles were registered with the Excise and Taxation Department. According to a government survey in Lahore, 30 to 35 motorcyclists are involved in road accidents everyday, and 80 percent of the deaths in such accidents are caused by head injuries. These statistics led the government to make helmets compulsory for all motorcyclists.
Earlier, it was decided that the violators should be fined Rs 500, and in recurring cases, arrested and their motorcycles impounded. However the penalty was set at Rs 100 for an undisclosed time period.
According to, Zia Cheema, the deputy medical superintendent at General Hospital, about 100 people with head injuries are admitted into the hospital everyday, out of which only 10 are referred for observation. The rest are discharged after minor treatment.
However, on certain days head injury cases more than double. On August 14, when scores of motorcyclists swarm city roads in misdirected patriotic fervour, over 200 people were treated at the hospital for head injuries, out of which seven died in the emergency ward and several others died later.
Cheema said that the decision to make helmets compulsory would reduce the number of such cases. According to an independent survey, there are about 300,000 motorcycles in Lahore. Only a small percentage of their owners wear helmets. A government source told Daily Times that the government was considering making it compulsory for motorcycle manufacturers to include a helmet in each sale.