by Pankaj Yadav
NEW DELHI, Oct. 23 (Xinhua) -- A woman rider is currently on a mission in India's northern states to spread awareness about road safety measures, appealing to two-wheeler riders, particularly women, to wear proper helmets for their safety.
Riding an Indian-made motorbike, she would complete her 15-day solo ride on Nov. 4 in India's northern states including Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, and Punjab.
Pooja Yadav, 33, mother of a 12-year-old son, has over the past couple of years completed more than 12,000 km of ride, covering most parts of central and western India, besides the southern states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
She began her current ride from her hometown Mathura in Uttar Pradesh on Monday on a mission to tour at least five northern states in a bid to spread awareness about road safety while riding motorbikes.
Having reached Shimla, the capital city of hilly state of Himachal Pradesh, around 275 km from Delhi, Pooja spoke to Xinhua over the phone to share her experiences.
She said she began her ride on Monday and have already traveled around 400 km in the past two days.
"On the way I stop by road sides and make people aware about road safety. My aim is to educate the people and make them aware about road safety," she said. "We get to read and hear about a large number of fatal road accidents involving two-wheelers every year in our country."
The acclaimed woman rider further said it was a mission of her life to see an accident-free India.
"In most of the road accidents involving two-wheelers, deaths occur due to lack of proper headgears. The head is one of the most critical parts of our body, and it needs to be protected while riding a two-wheeler. I spread awareness among people to observe caution and ensure wearing proper helmets," she told Xinhua.
It's also often noticed that women don't put on proper helmets, she said, either because of callous attitude or religious reasons. Women riders, or pillion-riders without helmets are commonly seen on highways and even on expressways. "It's so scary," she added.
Pooja's ride was organised and promoted by a Delhi-based non-government organisation TRAX, dedicated towards road safety.
India is among the countries witnessing a maximum number of road accidents every year. Most fatalities occur due to rash driving, drunken driving or not wearing proper safety gadgets.
According to official figures, more than 43,600 two-wheeler riders without helmets died in road accidents during 2018. This was 21 percent more than the number of similar deaths during the previous year.