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Smile for the gas pump

By Robert Filla

If you believe the U.S. government plays too large a role in mandating restrictive motorcycle laws, celebrate the fact you do not live in Kerala, a southern state in India. India has had a national helmet requirement for both riders and passengers since 1988 with implementation of the law left to the states on an individual basis. But with motorcycles comprising a predominant number of vehicles used for common transport, enforcement has been hampered. So Kerala has taken a bold step in the corporation limits of Thiruvananthapuram, Ernakulam and Kozhikode—wear a helmet or get no gas.

With all the oil companies involved agreeing to the proposal, closed-circuit televisions will be installed on the petrol pumps and linked to the local enforcement squad. You show up without a helmet and the powers that be will not activate the pump. Common objections cited for not using a helmet are their restriction of vision, being uncomfortably hot, and causing hair loss.

While the simplest way to skirt the problem would be to carry a helmet on the bike and strap it on whenever you hit reserve, we can also envision crafty entrepreneurs right around the corner from the pumping station willing to “rent” you a helmet just long enough for a fill-up.

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