PUNE: Two-wheeler riders have given mixed reactions over the compulsory use of helmet from January 1. However, doctors from the city said compulsion or no compulsion, helmets and seat belts are necessary for personal safety.
While most of the bigger cities adhere to wearing helmets, as a rule, citizens of Pune are still not willing to adopt it completely. Doubts are being raised, including using helmets could cause damage to the neck and spine; wearing helmets doesn’t guarantee complete safety and narrow lanes and slow-moving traffic makes wearing of helmets unnecessary.
Compulsion or no compulsion, doctors advise the use of helmets and safety belts not only for riders or drivers but also for pillion riders or people travelling in a car. Dr Nilesh Bhandari, a consultant neurologist at the Sancheti Hospital, said not only riders but also pillion riders should use the helmet as both have a risk of injuries.
“Leave alone serious injuries, even in case of trivial brain injuries, the quality of life may be affected as the injury may cause paralysis, double vision, vertigo, may experience difficulty in maintaining balance and coordination. The recovery in head injuries takes longer time and affects not only patients but also their families. Many people avoid helmets citing many reasons but taking into consideration the benefits of using helmets, there cannot be any excuse about discomfort in using helmets,” said DR Nilesh Bandhari.
Speaking to Sakal Times, Dr Kapil Zirpe, Head of Neurocritical Department at Ruby Hall Clinic, said one should not wait for any enforcement.
“Use of helmets is for our own good and we should start using them immediately. Head injuries and the trauma that follows has a severe impact on not only patients but also their families. All of them, including the patients, are affected emotionally, physically and financially. Head injuries are traumatic and mostly land up youngsters or earning members into hospitals and the recovery that follows may take long crippling their lives,” said Dr Zirpe.
He added that the argument of discomfort and neck problems does not arise as travelling within Pune, most of the times, is not over half an hour or an hour, to and fro from workplaces.
“Also, the new trend of helmetless driving using hands-free and talking on the mobile phones while driving is very dangerous and should be stopped immediately. Drivers should remember that not the speed but the impact on the surface is what defines the nature of the injury,” said Dr Zirpe.
Dr Vishal Rokade, a consultant neurosurgeon at the Sancheti Hospital, said just the way our skull protects the delicate parts of our brain, the helmet is like a second skull.
“More often it minimises the impact that an accident has on the brain. Similarly, using seat belts while driving cars may minimise or avoid spine injuries, which literally cripple the entire life of the injured with some form of disability. People should look at helmets and seat belts as a form of protection and adopt it immediately,” said Dr Rokade.