Dec 14, 2018

Police change full face helmet law

Based on the complaints received by the All Ceylon Motorcyclists Association in November, there have been issues that had arisen with regard to the manner in which the Wellawaya Police Traffic OIC has acted against the motorcyclists wearing full faced helmets, said the Association Chairman Chirantha Amarasinghe.

When Amarasinghe had contacted the said police officer, he had admitted that the police have the right to warn motorcyclists wearing full face helmets.

The relevant telephone conversation is here.

A complaint had been lodged with the IG on November 15 but as there was no action taken, the association had taken measures to lodge a complaint with the Police Commission on November 30.

Accordingly, Amarasinghe had been called by the Police Commission to the Thanamalwila ASP office on December 03 to obtain a statement. On December 07, the Thanamalwila ASP had summoned the said Traffic OIC of the Wellawaya Police, a motorcyclist who had faced this issue to investigate this matter on the directions of the Police Commission. At the inquiry, the Traffic OIC had pointed out that in the gazette extraordinaire 2007/39, paragraph 4 issued on February 23, 2017, wearing of full face helmets had been banned.

On December 11, the Wellawaya Police had enforced the law against a motorcyclist who had worn a full face helmet and filed charges in the Wellawaya courts for January 08, 2019 on the grounds that he had worn a full face helmet obstructing the view of his face.

However, as the motorcyclist had ignored the warning and worn the helmet, the police officers (PC4259, PC67093) had damaged his helmet and with the intention of putting him into difficulty, charged that his license was broken and the helmet strap was broken. They had told him to complain to the Human Rights Commission if he so wanted and had demeaned the HRC as well, Amarasinghe noted in his complaint.

The legal explanation on full face helmet protection

The Appeal Court order on full face helmet protection states, that based on scientific and medical grounds the wearing of full faced helmets should be allowed. Accordingly, through the banning of wearing the full face helmet the Traffic OIC has violated the fundamental rights fairness under 12(1).

According to the 2007/39 gazette implemented by the Wellawaya Traffic OIC no reverts are allowed on helmets. However there are reverts on the helmets made to SLS 512 standards as well. Therefore, according to the said order, no helmet can be worn in Sri Lanka.

Therefore Amarasinghe urged the HRC to take up this matter urgently as this issue is affecting the 4.2 million motorcycle riders in the country.