Helmets for India: A Charity Adventure Road Trip
Hamburg (May 15, 2019) An international team of motorcycle enthusiasts and artists returned from India and have kicked off a movement called ‘Helmets for India’ – a creative initiative to change the road safety situation on two wheels in India. Through a traveling exhibition with artfully designed motorcycle helmets, ‘Helmets for India’ is raising awareness for more safety in traffic and is looking for more supporters for the good cause. The first ‘Helmet Art Show’ premiered in Bombay, followed by a charitable motorcycle tour to Goa, where helmets were distributed and riders were made aware of safety issues.
While filming for a TV show in India last year, I was appalled to see that most people riding scooters and motorcycles through the craziest traffic in the world don’t wear helmets. Especially women and kids who make up most of the pillion riders, pushing through crowded traffic, in which there is little or no safety regulation and policing. Witnessing a two wheeler accident involving a small kid marked me profoundly. As a father and a biker, I felt compelled to do something that would help bring about a change. After many discussions with friends in India and abroad, the idea for ‘Helmets for India’ was born – Safe riding for everyone, everywhere!
The safety requirements for two wheelers in India are still catastrophic and the statistics shocking. India has reported the most traffic deaths worldwide, which includes 327 motorcycle deaths each day. Not surprisingly, most motorcycle deaths are a result of head injuries. Wearing a motorcycle helmet securely can reduce the risk of death by 40% and the risk of heavy head injury by 70% (Based on WHO Global Status Report on Road Safety 2018).
We are back from the craziest, most powerful, most exhausting, most passionate and most meaningful road trip I have ever done in my life! The first charity adventure road trip started from the Gateway of India in Bombay, went through Pune, along the coast and ended the week-long ride in Goa. The team of motorcycle enthusiasts accompanying me were Caro Fitus (Germany), Dean Stockton aka D*Face (UK), Francesca Gasperi (Italy), Ganesh Shinde (India), photographer Tom Bing (UK), cinematographer Dominic Hinde (UK) and Ben Arslan (Germany), who organised the project together with myself.
During the ride, around 300 helmets were distributed, that were sponsored by several global helmet brands. Special attention was paid to parents and their children who use their two wheelers on a daily basis and for whom wearing a helmet is particularly important. With the goal of distributing a total of 1,000 helmets in 2019, this tour was just the first of many this year in India.
‘Helmets for India’ has brought more than 20 artists from across the globe under one roof to customise helmets in their distinctive styles in an effort to make helmets cool and desirable. Some prominent names include D*Face, Magnus Walker, Steve Caballero, Roadkill and Rasmus Tikkanen. These customised art helmets were premiered at a special art exhibition, organised by an Indian art events outfit, Moto Art Show on 24 March, 2019 at the Bombay Art Society and was the first of its kind in India.
“Art here in India is still rooted in traditions and we blew everyone away with the crazy cool art helmets. Helmets for India is onto something big and I am really happy to be a part of the team”
- Mallika Prakash, the organiser of Moto Art Show.
After their debut, the art helmets are traveling to other well known motorcycle events around the globe, such as The Bike Shed (UK), Wheels & Waves (France), The Malle Mile (UK), Moto Circle (Austria) and Wildays (Italy). At the end of 2019, the art helmets will be auctioned off to raise funds that will be used to support a non-profit, working in the area of road safety in India. ‘Helmets for India’ is supported and funded by Arai, Hedon, Nexx, Nolan, Sena, Gulf and Sas-Tec. In addition, a number of individuals who are working tirelessly on the ground to make this fantastic project a reality. Ben Arslan says “Our first travel to India was a fantastic team effort and without all the support, we wouldn’t be able to execute in that way. We are grateful and looking forward to all the adventures ahead, as this is just the beginning.”