The Road Transport Authority is turning a Nelson’s eye to the rent-a-bike business along the beach belt as more than 80 per cent of the rent-a-bike business owners are providing unsafe helmets, that don’t bear ISI mark, to the tourists who are often found riding dangerously on the roads.
As per transport rule, it is mandatory for a rider to wear helmet while riding a two-wheeler and that the helmet should be ISI-certified. But this rule is not followed by the rent-a-bike owners in the beach belt.
As per locals, leave alone helmets without ISI mark, the operators some time even provide helmets that are in worn out and shabby state. While tourists use such helmets without making much issue just to avoid getting challaned by traffic cops.
Locals informed that the rent-a-bike operators are doing a roaring business but were not willing to ensure safety of their customers by providing ISI-marked helmets.
Yogesh Pugariya, a tourist from Maharashtra who was booked for not wearing an ISI-marked helmet, told this reporter that “tourists are not aware of the rules and are not informed of by the bike owners, hence, they get challaned.”
Another tourist from Telangana Annam Venkatesh said that “I was handed a poor quality helmet; it didn’t have a strap. We pay so much to hire a bike but the bike owner is not bothered about the customer’s safety.”
Calangute traffic cell PI Narayan Chimbulkar, when contacted in this regard, said that “it is the RTO who is the authority to carry out surprise check on helmets. I have written to the RTO seeking names of operators of rent-a-bike business and the number of vehicles operating in the beach belt as private bikes are also being rented out. Through such information we will have a database of rent-a-bike business operations.”
Calangute PI Nolasco Raposo said that there are many accidents involving tourists, including riding under the influence of alcohol.
The total number of accident cases involving two-wheelers in 2017 was 37; in 2018, it was 40 and in 2019 till June 30, 36 cases were registered at Calangute police station, he said.