The Indian government has made the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) certified helmets, which are commonly known as ISI certified helmets, as mandatory for two-wheeler. The new BIS certified light helmets are required to have a maximum weight of 1.2 kg for the convenience and safety of the two-wheeler riders. Bulky heavy helmets and the issues arising out of sweat, especially during harsh summers in India are the main reasons for avoidance of helmets by two-wheeler riders in India. The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) has issued an order S.O. 4252 (E) dated 26th November 2020 titled ‘Helmet for riders of Two Wheelers Motor Vehicles (Quality Control ) Order, 2020.
Previously MoRTH had issued IS 4151: 2015 standard for two-wheeler helmets in 2018 which came into force since January 2019. The new standard had replaced the previous IS 4151:1993 standard. Many manufacturers have progressively shifted to the new standards however, the compliance is not total.
In addition to the new standard, the government had specified that the sale of non-ISI standard helmets was an offence. The helmets are being specified as Two Wheeler helmets to deter the two-wheeler riders from wearing the lighter ISI-marked industrial helmets to circumvent the law. The new standards have made the two-wheeler helmets lighter and airier with strident quality checks. The IS 4151: 2015 standard also makes the sale of imported price-effective 1.5 kg helmets illegal unless they conform to the new ISI standards.
The two-wheeler market is expected to boost post-COVID-19 as people are expected to shift to personal mobility rather than shared mobility. The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data shows the two-wheeler related deaths have increased year on year and contributed to 38% of total road fatalities in 2019. Some two-wheeler sales outlets also contribute to the sale of the non-standard helmet as they are usually bundled as free. An ISI certified helmet costs more than the non-ISI standard helmet.