Women riding pillion on two- wheelers in the city will have to wear helmets though Sikh women have been exempted from it on religious grounds.
The Delhi government today issued a notification making wearing of helmets mandatory for women with immediate effect. According to the earlier provision, it was optional for the women pillion rider to wear helmet.
According to transport department, it will be optional for Sikh women whether riding on pillion or driving a two-wheeler to wear helmet. The community had opposed making wearing of helmet by women pillion riders compulsory on religious ground.
"Wearing helmets is now mandatory for women pillion riders in Delhi. However, Sikh women have been kept out of its ambit on religious grounds," said a top transport department official.
Delhi Government has amended the rule 115 of Delhi Motor Vehicles Rules, 1993 to make the new provisions.
In 1998, the Delhi government had made wearing helmets mandatory for all pillion riders, but following objections from the people belonging to Sikh community, it had to amend the Delhi Motor Vehicle Rules, 1993 in June 1999 and made it optional for women.
According to transport department, in Delhi alone, a total number of 576 two wheeler riders lost their lives during 2012.
The main risk factor for motorised two wheeler users is the non-use of helmets and head injuries are the major cause of death, injury and disability among them. Many of these head injuries could have been prevented or their severity reduced through the use of helmets.
Meanwhile, Delhi Traffic police said as per new notification, they will impose a fine on such women who are not wearing helmets, except Sikh women, while riding two-wheelers.
"We are studying new notification issued in this regard. Traffic police will proceed as per new rule and fine women riding pillion on a two-wheeler without helmet," Special Commissioner (Traffic) Muktesh Chander.
On the other hand, Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Management Committee (DSGMC) has welcomed the decision of Delhi Government.
"We welcome the decision of Delhi Government for exempting Sikh women from wearing helmets. We can also issue minority certificates to Sikh women for their identification," Manjit Singh GK, president of DSGMC, said.
On May 2 this year, transport department had invited suggestions from the general public on this issue after getting go-ahead from L-G.