For Rescue Network Nepal
(Date: 25thJune, 2018)
Numbers of middle class people choose motorbikes as the mode of transportation for the comfort and convenient life. Motorbikes are reasonable in cost, easy to operate and accessible in a country like Nepal. For the most part of the roads here are narrow and winding, have heavy traffic and are extremely busy. In comparison to other vehicles the motorbike has the lowest amount of fuel consumption, and therefore it is economical or reasonably priced. For these reasons, many people prefer to pay money for motorbikes rather than for cars or other 4 wheelers.
With the rising number of motorbike riders, there are increasing number of accidents too. It is because of the road condition and the negligence of the riders who are mostly the youth. Many o f the latest bikes are heavy and powerful. Moreover young people not only ride them, but with high speed, they try to show off and brag about their capabilities. Some middle class people have their family fully depend upon motorbikes and they are found riding a single motorbike with 3 to 4 people including children. Even some adults ride the bike with triple load when traffic police are not around. It is against the rule, still they ride overloaded bikes. Therefore it is understandable that the motorbikes have a higher rate of fatal mishaps than automobiles or trucks and buses.
Rescue Network Nepal (RNN) was formed with the primary goal of teaching first aid to Christian Churches, community folks and select organizations throughout Nepal, in order to teach them how to aid people injured in traffic or other accidents. Thus RNN has been providing first aid training to the people nearby the highways as well as to the rural areas where there is need of those techniques for immediate help. If an accident casualty gets immediate help, it can be life saving. The volunteers of RNN who got the first aid training have enthusiastically been serving and treating the accident victims. This year from January to June, 2018, out of 105 first aid incidences reported by RNN volunteers, 21 were road accidents in which 15 were motorbike accidents. Understandably many of our volunteers who are assisting with first aid do not always remember to send the report to RNN.The country recorded daily average of 28 road accidents which resulted in six persons being killed every day in the fiscal 2016-17. According to statistics published by Nepal Police, a total of 2,385 persons were killed in 10,178 roads accidents in 2016-17 compared to 2,006 in 10,013 road accidents last fiscal year. Central region topped the chart with 735 deaths, while western region recorded 567, eastern region 498, mid-western region 270 and far western 133 deaths in 2015-16. Similarly, 182 were killed in the Kathmandu Valley compared to 166, last fiscal year. Road accident stands as a major killer in Nepal. On an average, 1,800 persons die in road accidents across the country every year. Many accidents go unreported mainly because the parties involved settle the matter themselves. Accidents with minor injury or damage to vehicles are often settled at the accident site and are not reported to police. Only accidents causing human injury are reported. Nearly 75 per cent of the accidents are attributed to negligence of drivers. In 2016-17 drivers’ negligence caused 7,487 road accidents followed by 1,392 due to speeding, 288 due to drink driving, 376 due to recklessness of passengers, 213 while overtaking vehicles, 149 because of mechanical failure, 33 overload, 31 stray cattle, 94 poor road conditions and 15 bad weather. According to the Ministry of Health, road accident (7 per cent) is the fourth leading cause of death after infectious diseases, child and maternal mortality (42 per cent), cardiovascular diseases (25 per cent) and cancer (11 per cent) in Nepal.
During the first aid training, RNN is now providing awareness program for reducing the serious injuries resulting from motorbike accidents such as not to overload bikes and the use of helmets for both the rider and the pillion passenger. At the present there is no policy or the rules for the pillion passenger to wear a helmet and people find it humorous to do so. They even find it bizarre and inconvenient to carry two helmets. Yet they forget that it is mostly the pillion passenger which suffers serious head injury rather than the rider when there is an accident and this is because the rider was wearing a helmet. Very serious and life threatening head injuries have been the result f people not wearing helmets during motorbike rides. For other kinds of injuries, there is treatment in Nepal, but for the head injury the treatment is very costly and many of the people have their brain damaged, get paralyzed or they die.
We have responsibility to protect our bodies while enjoying the convenience of riding motorbikes. So please join us in this campaign to make sure that both rider and pillion passenger are protected by wearing helmets. It may take some patience to convince friends, family members to wear helmets, but it would be life saving. Please do pray for this campaign and let this bring out a good outcome.