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Dhoom’ spurs demand for hip helmets

Often seen as just a necessary nuisance, helmets in Gujarat have suddenly acquired the status of a fashion symbol, particularly after the trend-setting biker film “Dhoom”.

According to Steelbird, one of the country’s major helmet manufacturers, the John Abraham-Abhishek Bachchan starrer has spawned a demand for fancier, hipper headgear in the state, where helmets become mandatory Saturday.

“After the success of ‘Dhoom’, there is a demand in the market for fashionable helmets and biking apparel. We have made fashion and accessories attached with helmets,” said Steelbird managing director Rajeev Kapoor.

Steelbird, for instance, has introduced a helmet with a wireless brake light at the back. The light switches on just when the rider applies the brakes. For this, a transmitter needs to be placed in the brake lights of the two-wheeler.

It is just one of the many varieties of helmets Steelbird has launched for the Gujarat market as people gear up to adhere to the new rule.

The state government had issued a notification making helmets compulsory for two-wheeler riders and pillion riders from Aug 1 following a directive of the Gujarat High Court. However, it was forced to extend the deadline to Oct 1 due lack of stocks to meet the demand from an estimated 4.5 million vehicle owners.

The decision came after many stood for long hours in queues and paid far higher prices for their helmets.

“The government should have implemented the compulsory helmet rule in a phased manner. Making the rule effective overnight can put producers, suppliers and dealers in trouble, as they can not meet the demand.

“But if the rule is implemented in a phased manner, people do not have to stand in queues and pay high prices,” said Kapoor.

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