A recent study has revealed that the overall helmet compliance level for two-wheeler users in Ahmedabad has doubled in just one year. The study conducted by Ahmedabad-based CEPT University (Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology), reveals that the in last one year, the percentage of helmet users has gone up from about 25 per cent to 52.3 per cent in the city. Led by Professor H.M. Shivanand Swamy, the study also monitored the compliance level for two-wheeler users who adhere to the stop lines at a traffic junction, which was about 38 per cent. The study was carried out for the City Police of Ahmedabad to assess the impact of the corrective drive against illegal parking and flouting of safety norms that was conducted in 2018.
A total of 15 key junctions across Ahmedabad were selected to observe the behaviour of two-wheeler riders when it comes to adhering to helmet and stop-line discipline. The team monitored video footage from four key time slots across the day - morning 9:30 -10:30 am, afternoon 1:30 - 2:30 pm, evening 6:30 - 7:30 pm and late evening 10:00 - 11:00 pm. This included both peak and non-peak hours for a weekday and a weekend. CEPT also says that a total of 70,000 riders from 15 the locations were observed during this study.
Key observations from the study, as far as helmet usage was concerned, revealed out of the 15 locations, compliance to helmet usage was about up to 79 per cent in three locations, up to 59 per cent in two locations, and 69 per cent in two locations. Out of the remaining 8 locations, four locations observed helmet compliance up to 49 per cent, while the remaining four locations helmet compliance was less than 40 per cent. There is higher compliance in the morning peak for both male (57 per cent) and female (53 per cent) riders. However, the compliance is seen to be less in the afternoon inter-peak (49 per cent), evening peak (48 per cent) and night off peak (30 per cent). As for stop line analysis, the study revealed that in most cases two-wheeler users stopped either after the stop-line or after the zebra crossing. In areas, namely Odhav and Kalupur railway station, and Chandkheda, maximum riders did not stop at the junction at all breaking the traffic signal.
Professor Swamy told us that the data from the study is with the Police, who will decide on the ways to better enforce the regulations injunctions with poor compliance while finding ways to further enhance. Smarter solutions like speed cameras and e-Challan system also aid the Police to effectively enforce traffic laws. When asked whether the CETP is planning to study any other cities, Professor Swamy confirmed that they are speaking with the City Police of Surat to conduct a similar study.
Although this study is very much region specific, and data from other cities in India are bound to be largely different initiatives like this go a long way in increasing awareness with regards to road safety and rules.