SRINAGAR: Fashion seems to have priority over safety for the new-age girls riding two-wheelers in Kashmir Valley.
Most of the young girls riding two-wheelers can be seen violating the most important traffic rule by not wearing crash helmets. A few riders told Kashmir Reader that helmet does not appear fashionable to them.
“The helmets that are available in markets for girls look so boring and dull. I have one, but I rarely use that. So, I prefer wearing my oversized glares in order to save myself from sun,” said Humaira (second name withheld).
Another teenage Scooty rider, Bushra says that helmet spoils her ‘neatly-kept’ hairdo. “My hair gets sweaty and it spoils my hairstyle. In addition, wearing a helmet looks so traditional. I prefer wearing a stole or a scarf to protect my hair from pollution,” said Bushra, a college student.
“I always carry a helmet with me just in case the traffic cops ask for. But I never wear it. I look weird in it,” said another college student Fatima.
What encourages these young violators is the ‘leniency’ shown towards them by the traffic police. As per Traffic Rules and regulations of Jammu and Kashmir, driving without a crash helmet is a punishable offence under Sections 129/177. However, the rules remain confined to the books.
While people outside the state are fined as high as Rs 3000 for not wearing a helmet, most of the women scooterists in the Valley are seen zooming past traffic cops.
However, Superintendent Police (Traffic) Srinagar, Haseeb-ur-Rehman said they are in the process of dealing with the violators. “We are taking suitable measures to overcome the problem. Last week we sent letters to some girls’ higher secondary schools. It was requested that a data be maintained about the number of girl students who use Scooty as a mode of transportation along with their parentage and address details.”
“In the second step, we will launch an awareness campaigns in these selected schools about the traffic rules and regulations. The third would be action based. If we still find girls violating the norms, they would be challaned,” Rehman told Kashmir Reader.