Funeral Of Common Sense

30th Mar 2019 7:00 am

Rishaad talks about the importance of wearing a helmet.

37.5kph doesn’t sound very fast, does it? It’s the kind of speed we reach within seconds of hopping on a motorcycle. It’s also the average speed Usain Bolt clocked when he broke the world record for the 100m sprint 10 years ago. Clearly, the human body is not designed for the bigger speeds – and it most certainly isn’t built to withstand impacts to the head at such speeds. And that’s why we wear helmets.

Ironically, many skulls are too thick to comprehend this. Unhappiness over government-driven helmet compulsions isn’t new, but recent events in Pune have taken the madness to embarrassing heights. Pune’s anti-helmet agitation hit peak crazy in January when a procession was held to conduct a funeral for a helmet. That’s right, a large group of people, led by some politicians, actually marched to a funeral
home and conducted the last rites of a helmet. There are no words…

The arguments are the usual rubbish – helmets cause hair loss and spinal problems. Aside from the  issues caused by poor helmet hygiene, I disagree. Until there’s scientific data that clearly proves this, I suggest taking a look at the many thousands of professional racers or other high-speed athletes – they’ve spent most of their lives in helmets, very snug fitting ones at that, and I can’t think of that many bald or balding racers. Same goes for their spinal health; besides which, if you’ve got spinal problems, maybe you shouldn’t be riding a two wheeler at all?

If you ask me, the issue stems from the annoying tendency that far too many intelligent, educated people display. This would be the confident belief that if you don’t say it, it won’t happen; or at least it won’t happen to you. Let’s be clear, you can be as careful as you like, but you don’t control the environment around you. And if you’ve been in Pune recently, you’ll know just how ridiculously bad that environment has become. I’ve never seen a place with more mindlessly designed roads that overflow with such erratic users. They freely swerve their bikes right in front of you, happily placing their lives in your hands. Either you brake, or you’re taking them out.

The immediate reaction to hearing about these protests is to let Darwinism do its thing. But then again, there are plenty of rules that seem like no-brainers, but without them people would do stupid things. In a country where 1.48 lakh people died on the road in 2017, this helmet compulsion is one of  these rules. If you don’t have the common sense (or desire) to understand why a helmet is good for you, then it’s in your own best interest that the government forces you to wear one.

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