Female pillion passengers in New Delhi, celebrated for their poise while precariously riding side-saddle, are to be forced to wear crash helmets amid growing concern over the number of women killed in motorbike accidents.
Under pressure from road safety campaigners, the Indian capital's government is preparing to force all pillion passengers to wear helmets.
The move, in response to a High Court case, could also bring an end to one of India’s enduring images — the unprotected Indian family of five perched perilously on one motorcycle.
The authorities were alarmed at figures which show almost all of the women killed in motorbike accidents in the capital New Delhi in the last two years were pillion passengers riding without helmets.
Amandeep Singh Bedi, of the Institute of Road Traffic Education, said women must choose between their beauty and their lives. “Road accident data suggests that if a woman is riding a pillion with a man wearing a helmet, and they meet an accident, the chances of the woman getting killed are more than that of the man.
Women have to choose between their life and beauty or aesthetics. There is no other option, if you are on a two-wheeler, it can crash anytime,” he said.