Lahore High Court (LHC) has banned the motorcyclists to wear engineering caps instead of helmets and directed traffic police to make sure that they wear helmets in the whole city, not just selected roads.

The order came from Justice Ali Akbar Qureshi after hearing the petition filed by local resident Abdullah Malik which emphasized: “Engineering caps don’t serve the purpose of protecting the head in case of an accident.”

Earlier, LHC had ordered the city traffic police to take strict action against those riders who are risking their lives by not wearing helmets. Traffic police is issuing challan of Rs. 1000 while also banning the riders to enter certain roads.

Although traffic police are on a full-fledged campaign, many riders are found to be covering heads with inappropriate headgear like engineering caps, cardboard, cycling helmets, and similar items.

When we talked to a traffic warden a few days back about the legality of these headgears, he commented, “You just have to cover your head, doesn’t matter if it is a proper helmet or not. As per the law, we cannot issue challans to riders wearing engineering caps”.

Old man selling engineering caps in front of traffic warden
Old man selling engineering caps in front of a traffic warden

The Section 69-A of the Motor Vehicle Ordinance 1965 and Section 239-A of the Motor Vehicle Rules 1969 states the compulsion of a helmet while riding a motorcycle. However, since ‘a helmet’ is not defined and described categorically by law, riders take this to their advantage. There is a need that the government defines the standard of a helmet instead of naming headgear and banning it individually.

It is very unfortunate that in Pakistan, we implement policies without doing homework, recently, the government has started issuing e-challans without resolving the issues that are restraining and complicating the whole policy.

In addition to this, it is the duty of the government to regulate the prices of the helmets as poor riders are unable to buy helmets due to a recent price hike where an engineering cap is being sold at Rs. 200 to 300 which is one of the reasons citizens are opting it.