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Crash stories: Why wear a helmet even if going "just around the corner"

In Indian traffic conditions, we are always unsafe, especially on a 2-wheeler, not because we drive rashly but because millions around us do.

BHPian V.Narayan recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

"I'm just going around the corner" is often the most famous line said before an accident.

In October 1985, I was posted in Chennai for a brief while, a colleague's brother, then about 30 years old, was injured in the neck in an accident involving his Enfield bike and a truck literally 25 to 30 metres outside his building gate. He was paralyzed neck down for life and much later passed away after causing incalculable grief and burden to both himself and his family. This was in a locality called KK Nagar.

Helmets were compulsory in those days in Chennai. He was literally going to a grocery store 300 metres away, took his bike, did not wear a helmet thinking "I'm just going around the corner", swung his bike fast to the left as he exited the building gate, got into the slipstream of the morning traffic, did not notice the truck coming from his right and that was that.

In Indian traffic conditions, we are always unsafe, especially on a 2-wheeler, not because we drive rashly but because millions around us do.

Water, fire and Indian traffic become dangerous when we forget they are water, fire and Indian traffic.

Here's what BHPian vigsom had to say about the matter:

Narrating an incident here from 2003 in Surat - this colleague of mine had gone on his Hero Honda CD100SS to a store just three buildings away. No helmet on. A speeding Qualis hit him (not sure if it was the colleague's fault or the Qualis'), he was thrown up, came down head first and hit concrete paving.

Two passersby rushed him to the hospital in the same Qualis, and by the time information was received at his place (approx 2 hours later), the medical staff at the hospital and the scan centre said he had no chance.

He underwent surgery and came out of it, but the path to recovery was long. I remember when I used to visit the hospital to take him around when he was convalescing, he'd suddenly throw a fit, and when I used to walk him, he'd try to bite my shoulder etc.

He used to work as a plant engineer, and it wasn't until five years later that he went back to regular ops. The day this incident happened was his wedding anniversary - the sight of his wife and two small daughters that day is something I will never forget.

Until that day, my wife and I had skipped putting on a helmet when riding our then TVS Scooty (the light two-stroke one), although I would use a helmet riding a Bajaj Super or any of those bigger two-wheelers. Post that, the helmet has always been on - Scooty or Suzuki. Since that incident, my wife, kid, and I never ride a scooter without the helmet on. Later, while in Chennai, people would look amusingly at my wife and kid both donning helmets and be equally amused looking at them.

Here's what BHPian ninjatalli had to say about the matter:

For me, the learning came from my roommate nearly 20 years ago. Both of us had just purchased new Pulsar 150cc bikes with our first job salaries and it was fun to "roar" around empty Pune roads on these fast bikes (at least back then).

Back then Pune didn't enforce helmets on 2-wheelers so my roommate, who was kind of a flashy extrovert "DUDE", never used his helmet. Didn't go with his riding image - think of a leather jacket, black googles, gelled hair and racing around on a shiny red/maroon Pulsar. I had purchased a helmet and used to wear / use it diligently but then there were days when it would not be used, for situations like the above.

On a Friday evening, he decided to go out for a party with friends. I (again) suggested him to take the helmet and for once (very rare for him) he agreed to use it. About an hour later, got a call from him from a hospital - apparently he hit a car at a high speed and literally it was the helmet that saved his life. It took him another few weeks to get back to the status quo - thankfully the damage wasn't that much.

Since then I have never seen him without a helmet; neither do I ever step out without one (or two if with a pillion).

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

 
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