It has been reported that from June 1, China’s motorcycle pilot had followed “one helmet and one seat belt” regulation in some cities and this regulation will be extended to the whole country soon. This requirement has led to a surge in demand for helmets in China.
On April 21, 2020, the Traffic Administration Bureau of the Ministry of Public Security of China demanded that local public security traffic control departments strengthen propaganda and guidance to enhance the awareness of the masses of wearing safety helmets and using seat belts; also it works with industry authorities and trade associations to promote the “buy electric bicycles get helmets free” and “buy insurance helmets” models, organize demonstration guidance in key industries such as express delivery, takeout, taxis, and online car-hailing, and make good use of safety helmets and seat belts. During the operation, the public security traffic control department will strengthen the administration of law enforcement, check and correct motorcycles and electric bicycle riders without wearing safety helmets in accordance with the law, as well as the behavior of car drivers not using seat belts, thus promoting the safety habits.
The above operation is referred to as “a helmet and a seat belt” regulation. According to statistics, motorcycles, electric bicycles, and cars are the vehicles that cause the highest death toll from traffic accidents. About 80% of the deaths of motorcycles and electric bicycles are caused by craniocerebral injuries; in automobile traffic accidents, accidents caused by being thrown out of the car because they are not wearing seat belts abound. Relevant studies have shown that wearing safety helmets correctly and standardizing the use of seat belts can reduce the risk of death from traffic accidents by 60% to 70%.
However, the results of the “one helmet and one seat belt” operation may not be very satisfactory. Professional helmets that provide qualified protection, even without the vicious price increases caused by hype, are not cheap. Although the value of a society governed by the rule of law has been repeatedly emphasized in China, there is still an absolute large number of people in China who ignore the rules and lack security awareness (because of the large population of China).
Vehicle-related seat belt requirements have been put into effects in China for many years, but there are still a significant number of passengers who do not want to wear seat belts. Some illegal drivers will even buy “dummy belt clip” that can plug seat belt sockets to meet the reluctance of some passengers to fasten their seat belts, while avoiding the sharp warning alarm by cars when they are not wearing seat belts.
It is conceivable that many Chinese will probably replace professional helmets with cheap helmets that are under-protected, and some will even replace car helmets with construction helmets that can only protect against falling shocks. It will take more time for China to popularize the security awareness. However, China’s soaring demand for helmets could still lead to higher prices for helmets around the world.