Helmets supplied by different apps-based ride sharing services including Uber and Pathao to the passengers are not up to the standard, alleged a number of users.
They are just supplying caps in the name of helmets, they observed.
Motorbike drivers of ride sharing services get helmets from related organisation, and supply them to passengers to use during the ride.
Passengers alleged that the helmets are very below standard. These are not helmets at all. These are just caps used by workers of different construction sites. The caps are not capable to protect the face and head of a passenger in case of accident.
They said these caps are sold at Tk 300 at different store of Dhaka whereas price of a helmet is at least Tk 1000.
According to the country’s traffic rules, use of helmet is compulsory for both the driver and the passenger of a motorbike. Traffic police is entitled to punish if the rule is violated.
After the recent countrywide student movement demanding road safety, the traffic police are strict in this regard now. Petrol pumps these days do not sell fuel to motorbike drivers without helmet.
To ensure helmet for passengers most of apps-based ride sharing organisations supply helmets free of cost.
Visiting different helmet store in capital’s Bangshal and Bangla Motor areas, it has been learnt that what the ride sharing organizations are supplying in the name of helmets are nothing but caps.
The store owners said these caps are produced locally with a price range between Tk 200 to Tk 350. The caps are very light and not suitable at all for protecting head from accidents.
Professor Shamsul Huq, former director of Accident Research Unit of Bangladesh University of Engineering Technology, said as seatbelt for a car rider, helmet is a life-saving instrument for any motorbike rider. If it is not up to the standard, it brings risk to life.”
“It is the responsibility of Bangladesh Standard and Testing Institution (BSTI) to ensure if the helmet used on road is up to the standard. Road transport authorities and traffic police should also be cautious,” he added.
In this regard, BSTI director SM Ishaq said, “Helmet is not produced inside the country; it is imported from abroad. To make compulsory testing of standard of helmet, the item would be included in next import policy.”
Arif Dewan, a regular motorbike rider taking ride sharing services from Uber and Pathao, said, “Helmets supplied by both the organisations are very light which do not adjust to the head properly.”
When asked, Pathao’s chief marketing officer Syeda Nabila Mahmud said, “We gave helmets to our first 10,000 riders free of cost. Now we are supplying helmet worth Tk 350 to use during the ride.”
In reply to the query whether such helmets ensure security of passenger’s life, she philosophically answered that even a very costly helmet cannot ensure life safety.
The Uber authorities, on the other hand, did not respond even after repeated queries.