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At least four of every 10 motorcyclist dying in road crashes can be saved, if they wear appropriate helmets, according to a recent study published by the United Nations. Going by this estimate, at least 15,000 motorcyclists in India can be saved annually, if riders use proper helmets.

India had the dubious record of maximum two-wheeler deaths at 36,800 and leaving at least 93,400 injured in 2015. Pointing out how motorised two-wheelers is one of the most unsafe mode of transport, the UN Motorcycle Helmet Study says, “Motorcyclists are 26 times more likely to die in road crash than drivers of passenger cars. Wearing an appropriate helmet improves their chances of survival by 42% and helps avoid 69% of injuries to riders.”
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The study estimates that up to 34 lakh deaths globally might result from motorcycle crashes between 2008 and 2020. “As many as 1.4 million (read 14 lakh) those fatalities can be avoided with the proper use of safety helmets,” it says. The report mentions how motorcycles are the main mode of transport in low and low-middle income countries and there is a greater need to take more steps to make this mode of transport safer. “Wearing a good helmet and tying it properly can prevent loss of lives in 90% cases. We call it helmet vaccine,” said Dr M C Misra, director and dean of AIIMS while speaking at “Powered Two-wheeler Safety Conference” for south-east Asia region at College of Traffic Management.

Road safety expert Rohit Baluja also said south-east Asia has this big problem of “motorcycle boom”. “In India, over 78% of vehicles are two-wheelers and in Vietnam their share is 95%. There is a need for this region to work together and to find solution to our problems,” he said. Baluja said while wearing helmet is more important for riders, everyone using the road must follow the rules and enforcement has to be the key for this.

The UN report estimates that in 2020, lower and lowermiddle income countries may see an increase in motorcycle fatalities by 99%. Considering the different requirement for countries in this region, the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) has come out with fresh regulations, which allow manufacturing of lighter and smarter helmets. Manufacturing such helmets is likely to increase the usage of the safety gear in India and its neighbouring countries, an official of UNECE told TOI.

“We will showcase how such helmets are being manufactured and more countries can start producing similar ones,” said Lukasz Wyrowski, economic affairs officer of UNECE’s sustainable transport division.

Source: Times Of India

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