The Road and Transport Authority of India has taken the decision to ban sale of non-ISI certified helmets. This decision comes after it was detected that most of the road fatalities occur due to the use of non-ISI certified helmets. The government also recently decided that riding helmets be made to a specific grade. Those found using construction site or fire fighting equipment as riding helmets will be fined. Storage and sale of non-ISI certified helmets will lead to two years imprisonment or a fine of Rs 2 lakh. The ban will be applicable from October 2018.
While this is an appreciable move by the government, the setback is that from now on the international helmet makers will also have to adhere to the ISI standards. This means one cannot buy Snell or Dot ECE rated helmets anymore. So those looking for enhanced helmet protection in the form of lids manufactured by ARAI, Shoei or even HJC will have to look elsewhere. International helmet makers will now not be keen on exporting to India.
It remains to be seen if the new government helmet rules will also ban sale of half-face helmets or those specifically designed for the fairer sex. These helmets too are dangerous and provide bare minimum protection to the rider. It also has to be seen if the existing helmets being used by riders need to have an ISI mark or not. Most of the motorcycle riders these days prefer the protection of foreign helmets. These helmets are subjected to crash tests and provide for a rich riding experience. To compete with these helmets, the government recently said that future ISI certified helmets will have to have air vents as well as weigh less than 1,300gm. The latter was seen as a deterrent by many Indian riders.