Many incidents in one’s life teach them some sort of a lesson, but there is always that one story that changes the course of your life. The same happened with Bihar-born Raghvendra Kumar, a Greater Noida’s Lloyd Law College law graduate. He lost his friend KK Thakur from Madhubani, Bihar, in a road accident as he was not wearing a helmet. To this day, Helmet Man of India Raghvendra has distributed helmets to more than 60,000 people in the country.
We talked with Raghvendra to learn more about his initiative and how his selfless actions have saved the lives of over 35 people so far.
The Tragic Incident
Every noble cause starts with a reason, like Raghvendra’s mission to distribute free helmets. Losing his friend moved him so much that he let go of his aspiration to practice law and started distributing free helmets to motorcyclists not wearing helmets on the roads from Noida to Bihar. The statistics on motorcyclist deaths cemented his decision to take up this cause.
While explaining why he started this initiative, he shares, “I started this mission in 2014 to create awareness about the use of helmets so that future generations won’t lose their lives due to carelessness.”
Continuing this initiative hadn’t been easy; his parents expressed doubt and stopped giving him pocket money. Yet he preserved and took part-time jobs to support his cause.
Raghvendra states, “He didn’t stop distributing helmets even when he had to sell his house due to financial burdens. Additionally, he used the money to buy more helmets. In the last five years, I have distributed over 20,000 helmets in nine states, including Bihar and Delhi NCR.”
Reasons To Continue as Helmet Man of India
Most people would have given up by now, but Raghvendra is not leaving this selfless work even after exhausting his earnings and savings. The initiative has become a mission, a war against road accidents for him. The Helmet man shares, “People who have received helmets from me and who got saved by them become my voice and spread awareness about the need to wear helmets.”
He feels bittersweet when families of road accident victims meet him and tell him that they want to support him because he believes that no one should go through the agony of losing a loved one in a road accident. To enhance road safety, the Government of India has passed a law that children who are above 4 years old, should wear a helmet. Raghvendra also believes that from a young age, parents should teach their children about the importance of road safety and the importance of wearing helmets.
Quality Of Helmet Matters
Providing just any helmet doesn’t protect motorcycle riders; the helmet’s quality matters as several low-quality cheap helmets are available in the market. Raghvendra explains, “People buy low-quality helmets to escape any penalty. They usually wear it on the elbows or hang it behind the bike.” He explains that helmets should be ISI-certified to protect both the rider and the pillion rider.
Raghvendra doesn’t stop at providing helmets; he also gathers and distributes used books to those in need. After his friend’s death, he visited his house and saw all his unused books. So Raghvendra collected them and gave them to a student in Patna. Later, he received the news that the boy had become the district topper by studying from those books. It led to him exchanging helmets for unused books, which he gave to the needy.
Raghvendra Kumar’s work has helped many lives, and due to the extensive media coverage of his efforts, people, from auto rickshaw drivers to bike riders, realise the necessity of head protection in road accident prevention. Furthermore, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari has praised him for promoting road safety without regard for personal gain. He was also awarded the Pride of Asia Award in 2023, recognising his outstanding work. Talking about the future, the helmet man shares, “I want to establish permanent helmet banks near schools and universities through my non-profit organisation – Helmet Man of India Foundation.”
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