Kids with cerebral palsy teach lessons in road safety to Kolkata bikers

Strap Up! That is what children from Kolkata’s Indian Institute of Cerebral Palsy are saying to the people of the city.

Strap Up is the name of an initiative started by IICP to reach out to riders of two-wheelers, who often neglect to follow traffic rules that require them to wear helmets. The campaign aims to encourage them to not just wear helmets, but also make sure they fasten them properly.

The idea was born from a study conducted by JP India Private Ltd with the support of the Kolkata Police. The study shows that of the 244 fatal road accidents in the city in 2014-15, 66 involved at least one two-wheeler rider, who was killed. And of those who sustained severe and minor injuries, over 50% did not wear helmets.

“We really want to prevent such situations”, says Jeeja Ghosh, Head, Advocacy & Disability Studies, IICP, “but we are aware that this is a long drawn out process”. The immediate concern, she says is to make two-wheeler riders aware of the consequences of not wearing helmets, or not securing them properly.

Helmets act as guards for the head, protecting riders from injuries to the brain. Such injuries often lead to long term or permanent disabilities, loss of mobility, and sometimes, even cognition.

IICP has been working with people affected by cerebral palsy and neuro-motor disabilities for more than 40 years, and wants to make sure that such incidents do not take place. Especially when they can be avoided so easily, with the right care and precaution.

Strap Up is an initiative of the Ankur Advocacy Group, a branch of the IICP that looks at disability rights. AAG strongly believes in an egalitarian society, where the disabled are not just given the opportunity to exercise their rights, but also fulfill their duties as responsible citizens of India. Strap Up! is one such gesture that demonstrates that.

The project will go on until December 2017 in different parts of Kolkata, in partnership with the Kolkata Police. The campaign for November and December will take place in Tollygunge and Rajabazar, and later be extended to other parts of the city.

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