Helmet Man of India criticises MotoGP Bharat, questions impact on young riders – Times of India

Helmet Man of India criticises MotoGP Bharat, questions impact on young riders - Times of India

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While enthusiasts across Delhi NCR are attending the 2023 MotoGP Bharat races at the Buddh International Circuit this weekend, some road safety activists are not so happy and have raised concern over its impact on young civilian riders of the country. The activists say that in a country where two-wheeler related accidents and deaths are the highest in the world, glamorising race motorcycles going 350 kmph on the track can have a detrimental effect out on the roads. While such views may seem pessimistic, here are the arguments that notable activists are putting forward.

Raghavendra Kumar, the ‘Helmet Man of India’ has criticised the MotoGP races for potentially promoting over speeding among young riders of the country. According to a recent PTI report, Kumar said, “The MotoGP race takes place in 30 countries. India will become the 31st country on this list. But what are we gaining from this? Name or profit? This high-speed bike race is happening in a country that accounts for maximum road accidents in the world.”
In 2014, Kumar had lost a friend in an accident on the Noida-Greater Noida Expressway. He has since quit his full-time job and has become a road safety activist. Kumar is known as the ‘Helmet Man of India’ because he has distributed over 56,000 helmets to date, in a bid to raise safety awareness. “An event like this will impact the impressionable minds of youngsters, who are enticed to replicate the thrill. In a country where 1.5 lakh people, a large number of them young, die on the road annually despite speed limits of 100 kilometres per hour, why are we are we celebrating a show of 350 kilometres per hour.” Kumar told PTI.

It is not just Kumar, who has questioned MotoGP Bharat. Social activist, Amit Gupta, has also expressed his concerns over the impact of the races on young Indian riders. He highlighted that eight people had lost their lives in Gautam Buddh Nagar in the last week alone, these were pedestrians or people riding two-wheelers. He also alleged that road safety was the ‘most ignored’ subject by government authorities. Gupta further said, “Around 400 deaths are recorded in the district every year in Gautam Buddh Nagar. How can we celebrate MotoGP, knowing well that at least one person is losing their life daily on city roads?”.
For perspective, World Health Organisation (WHO) data indicates that at least one out of 10 road deaths in the world are recorded in India. Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) data shows that India road accidents led to 1.51 lakh deaths in 2019, 1.31 lakh in 2020 and 1.53 lakh in 2022.

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What is your outlook on the concerns of the road safety activists? Let us know in the comments.



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