In a fresh announcement made the Government of Gujarat, helmets in the state may now be worn on a voluntary basis.
Hot on the heels of the new amended Motor Vehicles Act being implemented, this new announcement has brought relief for civilians in the city. Earlier before the implementation of MV Act on November 1, the fine for not wearing a helmet was ₹100. The act spelled out the new and revised fine to be of ₹1000. However, the Government of Gujarat stated that they are only keeping the fine for ₹500 on first offence of not wearing a helmet since they don't want to 'punish people for their first offences in traffic violations'.
On Wednesday afternoon, the Minister of Transport RC Faldu made a surprise announcement that from that very day, the commuters will not be levied with a violation fee if they are not wearing helmets. "This is a voluntary basis now. The government wants to secure safety of all commuters on the road. However, wearing a helmet is for personal security. If one is not wearing a helmet they won't be fined since they are only endangering themselves and not someone else. However, we do advise the people of Ahmedabad to wear helmets for their personal safety and not just because there are no fines, they shouldn't disregard it," Faldu announced on Wednesday.
However, not everyone is thrilled with the fine being abolished. There are several traffic experts who believe that there are behavioural changes that the government needs to bring. "Unless they levy taxes on people, no one will follow these rules and the behavioural change that needs to be brought will not come," said Yash Shah, a city-based traffic consultant.
The people of Gujarat however welcomed this move of the government. They believed that wearing a helmet is about personal safety and that if even large sums of fine don't force people to wear it, then there is little else that the government can do. "Wearing a helmet is a danger to the rider themselves and it does not compromise with the safety of others on the road. Fines should be increased on violations like running a red light, overspeeding, driving in the wrong direction or lanes, or even high beam head-lights in a busy road. These are more bothersome for everyone else who is driving too," said Alisha Shah, a third-year student of HL College.