Stunt bikers in Chennai claim they play it safe

Petlee Peter
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The police crackdown on a group of unruly stunt bikers in New Delhi on Sunday went awry, with a bullet killing one of the bikers instead of deflating his bike’s tyre.

In Chennai too, the police have stepped in to prevent stunt bikers and illegal drag racers from jeopardising the safety of motorists and pedestrians. But the law-keepers here have never had to resort to extreme measures to stop maverick motorcyclists.

In contrast to their counterparts in Delhi, stunt bikers and illegal drag racers in the city are less audacious, say bikers here.

The majority of them indulge their passion for this high-risk hobby in sequestered spaces far away from the city. According to a city biker, an abandoned airstrip in Sholavaram and a lonely stretch on OMR are among favoured spots for stunt biking.

“Illegal drag races take place at designated and pre-announced locations in deserted areas of the suburbs,” says Anil (named changed), a youngster from Vadapalani. Sometimes, betting is an irresistible factor in these races, say youngsters.

Bikers get into trouble only when they rev up or perform dangerous stunts on busy city roads. Anil has been detained twice for speeding on crowded city stretches. At times, an accident caused by one of these bikers leads to a crackdown on their tribe.

“In 2011, a 55-year-old man was fatally knocked down in Kanathur due to speeding racers. In 2009, a 22-year-old biker died while racing on Kamarajar Salai,” says a police officer.

Over the years, the traffic police have taken a sterner view of bike racing. Now, runaway motorcyclists are handed over to law-and-order police officers.

“They are booked for criminal intimidation under section 506 of the Indian Penal Code,” says a senior traffic police officer.

According to a police officer, illegal drag racing contributes to around five per cent of the total number of cases booked and the police take extra effort in nabbing such offenders.

In May this year, six youths were arrested for racing on Besant Avenue Road in Shastri Nagar. In June, a rumble of eleven bikers was arrested for speeding down Kamarajar Salai and Mahatma Gandhi Road.



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