BBC reports: “Motorcyclists in Nigeria have been wearing dried pumpkin shells on their heads to dodge new laws forcing them to wear helmets…Road safety officials said calabash-wearers would be prosecuted.”
This brings mixed feelings — it’s hilarious on one hand and tragic on the other.
I wonder what needs to be done here: booking and charging the offenders to court, or hammering more on the public health benefits of helmets? Both.
At about 3,500 naira ($29, £20), the cost of helmet appears out of reach for most, and there is even some supernatural belief that impedes the use the helmets. Local papers have reported “passengers’ fears that the helmets could be used by motorcyclists to cast spells on their clients, making it easy for them to be robbed.”
These socioeconomic components of the helmet law must be addressed if the authorities hopes to see the helmet law obeyed. Public health interventions — the helmet law is one example — hardly succeed via executive fiat.