Around 12.30 a.m. on Monday, a police team put an abrupt end to a display of racing skills on Besant Avenue Road in Shastri Nagar.
Six youths, three of whom are under 21 years, were riding at breakneck speed on the road when they were stopped by the team of traffic policemen, attached to the Adyar traffic investigation team, on night patrol.
The police arrested the youths and seized four bikes from them. The arrested persons have been identified as Vincent (19), Sasikumar (21), Ramakrishnan (20), Prabhakaran (21), Karthik (21) and Mohanraj (20). A case under section 279 of the IPC for rash and negligent driving has been registered by the Adyar traffic investigation police. Later on Monday, all the youths were released on bail.
Monday’s incident was the second such in the past few weeks. There was a brief lull in incidents involving amateur racers indulging in illegal biking, after a police crackdown in 2011 on youths racing on busy stretches in the city including Anna Salai and Kamaraj Salai (Marina beach road). That crackdown followed a racing incident, in which a pedestrian was killed on Kamaraj Salai. Subsequently, the Anna Square police arrested more than a dozen youths for indulging in bike races in 2012.
Earlier this month, on May 10, the police arrested two motorcyclists for racing on Old Mahabalipuram Road (OMR), after they caused multiple collisions of vehicles on the busy stretch, in which two persons sustained injuries. The motorcyclists were later released on bail.
Of the youths arrested on Monday, except for Vincent, who is a resident of Saidapet, the others are from West Mambalam.
The Besant Avenue Road is an important link between the East Coast Road and the OMR — the two main stretches that have witnessed illegal bike racing in recent years. The racers took to these stretches following continuous police crackdowns on Anna Salai, Kamaraj Salai and other arterial stretches.
Between Janauary and mid-May in 2013, nearly 15 youths were charged for illegal bike racing by the Guindy and Adyar traffic investigation police. However, racing on ECR, OMR and the link roads still continues.
“The races happen mainly during weekends. The racers indulge in various styles, including wheeling, race and zig zag riding. They often place bets on the outcomes of the races, with stakes including cash amounts starting from Rs 1,000 and the bikes ridden in the race,” said a police officer.