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English Essay on “The Use of Helmets” Complete Essay, Paragraph, Speech for Class 10, Class 12 and Graduation and other classes.

The Use of Helmets

In recent times, lively arguments, supporting and opposing helmet use in two-wheeler riding, have made it a popular issue for public debate. Those who support its use, consider the helmet an insurance against head injuries and possible death, whereas the others, while not disputing its ability to save lives, oppose its use on the basis of the unhealthy side-effects it creates. However, any debate on the merits and demerits of helmet use should be with due regard to its context and situation.

The purpose of a two-wheeler varies from country to country. In advanced countries, it is used mainly for pleasure riding and adventure. Speed is, therefore, an important aspect of two-wheeler riding in those countries. Moreover, their well-paved roads enable and encourage faster riding. As adventure and risk-taking go hand-in-hand, it is only natural that the chances of two wheelers getting involved in accidents are considerable. Such accidents are invariably severe and may often even be fatal. The use of helmets is an absolute necessity in this context because they can satisfactorily protect riders from brain damage.

But in India, the use of two-wheelers contrasts sharply with that in the developed world. For most users in the country, the two-wheeler is akin to a work horse or a similar beast of burden. Often, it serves as the only means of transport for the family. The sight of a family of four—two adults and two children-perched precariously on a two-wheeler, and cruising gingerly on our roads, is common enough. In many such cases, it is not the human payload alone that the two-wheelers are expected to carry. Besides it, they have to haul anything from heavily packed shopping bags, and school books, to home appliances, provisions and pieces of furniture. It is not uncommon to see on our roads, two-wheelers laden with loads four to five times their weight. Considering the versatility and ruggedness these vehicles apparently command, their makers deserve glowing, handsome tributes.

Just as the use of two-wheelers varies from region to region, so does the nature of accidents they are involved in. If speed and the spirit of adventure of the riders arc responsible for accidents in the developed world, it is the pot-holed roads and crazy traffic that cause accidents in India. Contrasting with the crashes., skids and somersaults elsewhere, accidents in India, because they take place on congested roads, are more in the form of grazes and topples. Hence, the rate of fatality per accident is less than that in the developed world. But this proposition does not overlook the possibility of fatal accidents on congested roads with slow traffic. In fact, many accidents are indeed fatal. Moreover, a significant portion of them could avoid fatality if helmets were worn. But an important feature of these accidents is, that fatality is less often due to the non-use of helmets. A combination of factors, like poor traffic management, sub-standard quality of roads, as well as rash, irresponsible driving, with absolute disregard for traffic rules, contributes substantially to these accidents. In most accidents, all these factors are at once relevant.

Now, let us consider the scenario of a two-wheeler rider, wearing a helmet on a congested road in poor repair, with ill-managed traffic on it. Owing to the chaotic traffic, the rider will have to be equally alert to the possibility of vehicles overtaking from both sides, besides being careful to avoid a pot-hole or a bump in the path ahead. Such alertness will mean that the eyes as well as the head of the rider are constantly in motion, either horizontally or vertically. Needless to say, such movement with a helmet on, which covers the head entirely, is tortuous. Besides, the irritation caused by sweat, on hot and humid days, can make riding an absolutely dreadful experience. Moreover, there is hardly any sense in burdening only the main rider with a helmet. For better benefits, those riding pillion should also wear helmets. But in the case of families that use the two-wheeler for their travel, there may be children riding on it as well. How practicable will it be in such cases to make the children wear helmets? In the event of an accident, what assurance is there that only the main rider is liable to serious injuries and that the others will be spared?

It is at this juncture that we should ask ourselves what the real intention of making helmet-use compulsory is. If the aim is to avoid injuries, then before we make the use of helmets compulsory, we should improve the state of our roads and be more concerned about traffic management, so that the riders are spared the trouble of dividing their concentration between the task of actual riding and that of avoiding potholes and errant vehicles.

It is no wonder, that, despite the best efforts of the authorities, enforcement of the ‘helmet rule’ has not been possible. The only places where the rule is observed are the major cities, where traffic management and quality of roads are better. What we, therefore, need is a holistic approach to the idea of traffic management; not unrealistic compulsions like ‘helmeted’ heads. Let us first create a situation in which helmets will be necessary, as they are in the developed world, by making traffic conditions better. Insisting on helmet use before improving the state of road traffic will be like putting the cart ahead of the horse!


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