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No need for speed

Those who ride know the thrill of speed. It’s a great feeling to have an open road, powerful engine and the freedom to rev up and race.

But, it’s not a great feelingwhen people are hurt or killed. Wednesday night’s Wadala crash is an extreme example of the dangers stunt bikers pose to the general public. So far, bikers themselves have been the ones to get injured or killed -- and perhaps that’s why there has been no effectual clampdown on their antics. But now it is getting worse. Now, innocent people are becoming victims of the speed demons.

Stunt bikers are generally known to practise their ‘art’ on open roads, flyovers, highways and expressways. But the Wednesday accident took place on the Wadala bridge, killing and injuring people inside and near their own homes. The biker was attempting a ‘wheelie’ when he lost control of the bike.

In the first place, he should not have been attempting a stunt at all. Moreover, to do so in a crowded residental area goes beyond foolhardiness and is practically criminal negligence.

Residents of areas near open roads and expressways are familiar with the sound of revving engines and the sight of blurred bikers shooting by. Some bikers, possibly with pumped up adrenaline, also partner with other motorists and go about damaging vehicles and intimidating people.

The stunt biker menace is thus also a law and order problem, and must be stopped once and for all before any more people are killed or injured.

The police claim that all they can do is slap a speeding fine against the reckless riders. With such a meagre penalty, there is no guarantee that the speed demons will not repeat their actions.

If the police are unable to match up to the speed racers, they have to resort to other, more stringent methods. A jail sentence, confiscation of vehicles and revoking of their licences may act as deterrents. Also, strict vigilance is required at prime spots where such stunt menace is rampant.

It is time to make a concerted effort to stop this menace. Parents and families must know what their kids are up to, and they have to take steps to stop them. Residents of areas frequented by the bikers should liaise with the police to report them. And the police must take their complaints seriously.  

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