If you want to ride pillion in Bengaluru, don’t forget the helmet!

On the first day of implementing the helmet rule for pillion riders, not many pillion riders were seen wearing the helmet in Bengaluru. Pic: Akshatha M

Finally helmets have become mandatory for two-wheeler pillion riders in Bengaluru. For all those who have been cribbing about the rule of helmet for pillion riders, there is no other go but to follow it, or face the music. The Transport department has decided to implement the new rule from today: January 12th.

However the enforcement may be a bit slower in order to give time for people to buy new helmets and get used to the rule. As you begin to embrace the new rule, here is all that you may want to know about it.

Why has the government made it mandatory for pillion riders to wear the helmet?

For two reasons. First, due to increasing number of deaths of pillion riders in road accidents. Second, because of the Supreme Court direction.

High Court of Karnataka had advised to make helmets for pillion riders compulsory in 2006 itself, following which the government appealed against it in the Supreme Court. After falling into cold storage, the rule has resurfaced recently.

The Supreme Court Committee for Road Safety had earlier instructed the State government to implement helmet rule for pillion riders. It said that two wheelers contribute to 30% of road accident deaths in Karnataka. The State government had issued a draft notification following the direction, on September 18th. 

Sensing the delay, the Supreme Court in the last week of December, issued a written instruction to the State to implement the rule and set January 12th as the deadline. This is why the State had to act swiftly and issue the final notification on December 31st, making it mandatory for pillion riders to wear protective headgear.

What is the new rule about?

The new rule makes it mandatory for both the rider and pillion in two wheelers to wear a helmet, failing which traffic authorities can take action. So far, only riders had to compulsorily wear the helmet and pillion riders were exempted.

Has the same rule been implemented elsewhere, apart from Karnataka?

Yes. It is mandatory for pillion riders to wear helmets in Delhi (since August 2014), Tamil Nadu (from June 2015) and Kerala (from September 2015).

Has the Transport department given any grace period to implement the rule?

Though the government issued the final notification on December 31st, the rule was not implemented immediately. In fact, 12 days grace period was given and the rule is to be implemented starting from January 12th.

How strict will the implementation be?

According to Transport Department Public Relations Officer Premalatha, the rule will be implemented from January 12th, as it is the last day of the deadline given by the Supreme Court. However, enforcement might go a bit slower, to give riders enough time to buy new helmets, specially for children. The traffic police may excuse the rule violators for the first few weeks, till awareness is created.

On the first day, not many pillion riders were seen wearing helmets. However, Bangalore Traffic Police and Traffic Commissioner were spreading awareness messages on the rule, on social media.

Colourful helmets are available for kids in the market, though most lack ISI certification. Pic: Shree D N

Is there an exemption for any pillion rider from the rule?

No. The rule does not exempt any pillion rider from wearing the helmet. Children, adults and aged persons who sit behind in the two-wheeler must wear the helmet. However, infants are exempted from wearing the helmet.

At present, not enough varieties and sizes of children’s helmets are available in the market and the adult helmets do not fit the children. Therefore, initial exemption could be given to children for not wearing the helmet, at least till children’s helmets are available in the market, says the Transport Department PRO.

What kind of helmets one should wear? Can children wear cycle headgears instead of helmets?

Helmets should meet the specifications laid by the Indian Bureau of Standards (BIS). Even children should wear the helmets that meet these standards. Wearing headgears meant for riding cycles is not allowed.

It is advised to wear some helmet than not, even for children. Adult helmets do not fit children well, apart from being heavy for their head. Though colourful helmets are available for children, many of them are not certified by ISI. A shopkeeper near Sony World Signal, Koramangala, claims that there are ISI-certified helmets even for kids, but they cost more and are sold only on individual orders.


Colourful helmets are available for kids, but may lack ISI certification. Pic: Raghavan Kandala

In an emergency situation, if the pillion rider does not have a helmet to wear, or when a lone woman prefers to be dropped in a two-wheeler at night, will it draw action?

There is no clarity on it. “So many such situations can happen. We can’t pinpoint and say it is an offence during an emergency situation. Things will come under control slowly and fall in line,” says Transport Department PRO.

What is the penalty for rule violators?

The penalty for pillion riders not wearing the helmet is similar to that of the penalty imposed on two-wheeler rider if he/she is not wearing the helmet. The first time offender will be imposed a penalty of Rs 100 and for the third time offence, the traffic police may confiscate the driving license of the rider. The rider is responsible if the pillion rider fails to wear the helmet.

Where to store two helmets in a two-wheeler?

This is the practical problem which many people would face. In scooters, one helmet could be stored in the under-seat storage space, and another helmet could be locked to the two-wheeler. In bikes, both helmets could be secured using helmet locks (chain or wire locks). In Chennai, the High Court has instructed the government to make it mandatory for two wheeler manufacturers to add a new component called helmet lock in the scooter.

Related Articles

Do not drive a two-wheeler without helmets!
The helmet rule….
Who says helmets are compulsory?

Akshatha M
About Akshatha M 218 Articles
Akshatha M is a Staff Journalist at Citizen Matters. She tweets at @akshata1.

11 Comments

  1. In the morning as a parent I drop my daughter to college via my working place. Morning 8-30 a.m. traffic inspector caught my vehicle and pay the fine. But it is not good in the morning giving trouble for college students. Traffic rules exemption for atleast 9-30 a.m. onwards. It is very convenient for parents and students. Please change the rules and regulation of traffic rules.

  2. i think this rule is totally a money making for the government! if someone is supposed to be picked up from a place, does he or she have to carry a helmet along with them n walk around? its so insane that people need to carry one with them all the time!!
    when it comes to safety, i think people need to take care of themselves! and also the roads should be made proper and the government should make sure everyone follows the traffic rules!! instead of giving such pillion helmet rule!! Cops just pull away maximum money from anyone they catch!!

  3. I would like to say that this is just a dirty political game, they are just trying to rob us for their own benefits. I can’t understand why? by just asking us to wear helmets will they be able to avoid accidental deaths on the road by only safekeeping the heads & what about the body’s, tomorrow they will come with an other implementation of safety jackets & what else.

    After implementing this rule, they also allow the police to collect fine from us, where is all this money Going????? at last how has to suffer? the common man who once in a blue-moon would like to take his family out. the common would not be to drop a person in need & in emergency.

    Its a shame on the government to thinking of making easy money Or if they are planning for something better, let them try to do thing which will really help the common man live peace fully, I support Mr. Sudhakar comments.

  4. Just asking this out of Curiosity, R ppl wearing Turban on der head r exempted from wearing Helmets, if Yes, r der heads r not precious enough to be protected like the rest of the ppl???

  5. This is Completly a game played by BBMP.Its clear that they always give killer roads and expect us to wear helmets. Its just like encouraging terrorism and expect us to wear bullet proof jackets, citing safety of our lives. Incredible BBMP, Hatsoff of to ur rule.

  6. If everyone follow traffic rules, and BBMP maintain the roads properly, there wont be accidents in Bangalore. I agree with Sudhakar MS. Supreme & High Court should give the respective authorities dead line to maintain good road condition.

  7. Helmets to pillion drivers is never a solution citing the safety for brain damage. Firstly 90% of accidents in banagloare happen only because of pathetic, disgusting and Killer roads in the city which even so called supreme court nor high court is aware of it. Y cant impose strict rule on transport department to give a proper roads with a deadline. Rules and deadlines to follow only comes for a common man but not the authorities which is their duty and responsblity to give a proper roads for public.Shame on u transport department, your fault and we are paying the price.*******Incredible india.*****

  8. Hard to disagree with the first comment. But my main problem is with enforcement. Helmetless driving is the easiest violation to catch and BTP’s stats also show the same. However, other violations like using mobile phones while driving, signal jumping, lack of lane discipline and, most importantly, using high beams seem to be getting shorter shrift. And these I feel are more important as they mostly affect the safety of others. A helmetless driver is choosing to risk his own life by not wearing a helmet, while someone driving with high beams or jumping a signal is causing a risk to someone who’s following rules diligently. And more importantly, even when enforcing helmets, most of the violators only carry them on their arms and wear them where they expect police to be. It’s not like they’re really changing to wearing helmets all the time. Those who really care do it all the time irrespective of police presence.

    In an ideal world, yes, we should be enforcing helmets diligently, but only when it is not at the cost of other more serious violations. People should take care of their own safety, but people endangering others’ safety should get highest priority.

  9. Hearing of some recent incidents where pillion riders died on ORR at a safe speed and on a seemingly perfect road, makes me feel that it is better to carry the pillion helmet.

    However from the above incidents the real culprits are the authorities who failed to maintain the roads and proper lighting.

  10. Helmets are for our safety.Do we need somebody with a stick to tell us to look after our own heads!!!. During Deve Gowda’s tenure, we had an advt. “Marzi hain aapki, aakhir sar hain aapka”.This actually made people more accountable for their own safety.

    However, the root cause of injuries and deaths are more due to bad,potholed roads where riders try to negotiate potholes and simultaneously try to avoid oncoming traffic. This results in haphazard driving and increases the rate of accidents. (This is from my personal experience of losing 2 family members in an accident).

    Obviously, the police cannot be blamed as they do not have jurisdiction to get better roads and hence have resorted to implementing the helmet rule.

    The real culprits are not even in the picture – The Government agencies like BBMP,local corporators and all those responsible for maintaining the roads and pavements.

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