The helmet story

In the early 2000s, it become mandatory for motorcylists in India to wear a helmet.

However, to this day, several riders resent this rule. I have often seen them ride with helmets hung on their arms, only to pop them on when they see a cop. No sooner than the cop is out of sight, their helmets come right off.

Why do these riders rebel against protection for their own cranium?

This question only arises in the minds of people who believe a certain story – one where helmets prevent head injury, and one where, despite our best efforts, we are prone to accidents on the road. This story happens to be backed up by tests in laboratories and statistics on accidents.

Yet, this story isn’t good enough story for some riders. They find other stories more interesting:

  • One where wearing a helmet causes hair-loss
  • One where they are skilled enough riders to not require helmets
  • Ones where helmets make you look like a slob
  • One where they have ridden for 20 years without a helmet getting in their way

To get them to wear a helmet, we need to tell them a different story – one that they will find more interesting than the one they are telling themselves.

How true a story is, often matters less than how captivating a story is. The truth is useless when nobody is interested.

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