The Federation International de Automobile or FIA and Michael Schumacher's Keep Fighting Foundation have joined hands under the FIA Affordable & Safe helmets initiative. Under the initiative, the Keep Fighting Foundation has agreed to donate 5,000 helmets to promote two-wheeler safety.
Target price of the helmet is $20 or Rs 1,500
Aimed at low-income groups in countries with hot and humid weather
Pilot tests underway in India, Jamaica and Tanzania
What is the FIA Affordable & Safe helmets initiative?
The sporting arm of the FIA aims to work with corporates and helmet manufacturers to develop a motorcycle helmet that conforms to the United Nations (UN) safety standards and is priced at $20 or Rs 1,500. These helmets are designed in keeping with the comfort desired by two-wheeler riders in low-income countries with hot and humid weather, like India. In fact, pilot tests of these helmets are currently being carried out in India, Tanzania and Jamaica. The FIA will extend this list to include Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic and Colombia in 2021.
The FIA also states that besides the hot weather, high purchase price is another deterrent for two-wheeler motorists to adopt helmets which is why it aims to cap the cost.
As per latest studies, wearing a helmet is the most effective way to mitigate the number of head injuries among moped or motorcycle riders, by 44 percent.
What is Michael Schumacher's Keep Fighting Foundation doing with the FIA?
The Keep Fighting Foundation is the first organisation to partner with the FIA for this initiative. It has pledged 5,000 helmets which will be given to a beneficiary in 2021. In fact, all helmets that are being funded by the foundation will bear a design depicting a dragon as a symbol of power and strength.
What about production and distribution of helmets under this FIA initiative?
FIA, at present, has tied up with three international helmet manufacturers to produce these safe and affordable helmets in the first year. It adds that the aim is to add more manufacturers to the list so as to have a dedicated manufacturer for each region of the world.
The FIA aims to get companies from a number of sectors to donate these helmets to their employees or communities affected by two-wheeler safety related issues.
Jean Todt, FIA President, said, “Wearing a helmet is a key issue in road safety. According to studies conducted by the United Nations, motorcyclists are 27 times more likely to die and 6 times more likely to be injured in road accidents than passenger car occupants. Finding ways to ensure that helmets provide better protection to motorcycle riders is critical. The FIA Affordable & Safe Helmet Programme is part of the consolidated action that our Federation is taking to make a profound impact on this global challenge. I sincerely thank our first partner – the Keep Fighting Foundation – for this achievement and invite all organisations to support the initiative through brand partnerships, donations and strategic support.”
What does such an initiative mean for a country like India?
India witnesses a large number of two-wheeler accidents on a daily basis and many of these turn out to be fatal on account of the rider/ pillion not wearing a helmet. As mentioned by the FIA, riders in India cite the hot weather and low income as reasons for not buying and wearing a lid. While there are a number of awareness campaigns and other initiatives already in place, along with an active traffic police in big cities to penalise offenders, there is still a lot to be done. The FIA initiative aims to address some of the issues with its new helmets and we can hope that big corporates come together to push for stringent laws and better adoption of the life saving device.
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