Bengaluru riders: Catch them if you can

Bangalore City

Now you can see ‘Wheelie Wonka’ in Bengaluru! You may have come across many riders who are always in a rush, whose driving can prove fatal in many cases, but rarely would you have seen police catching them.

By Vivek Madhu

Bengaluru: Stunt-biking enthusiasts in the city are flouting traffic norms and endangering others’ lives. However, cops have been too slow to catch them.

Bengaluru police has stepped up a crackdown on all the “Wheelie Wonkas” of the city for rash driving and stunting. After the 2019 Motor vehicle Amendment Act, the penalties have increased from Rs 200 to Rs 10,000 with one to six months of imprisonment.

The Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Act which came into effect on September 10, 2019 hiked the fines for major traffic violations including reckless driving and driving without a license. Besides the hike, the new act also includes imprisonment for the above-mentioned crimes.

Rash driving is the major cause of accidents on roads and two-wheelers account for over a third of all road accidents, say reports from the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.

“If all states begin implementing the provisions of the Act with heftier fines on breaking traffic rules, people may start to follow rules and road accidents may actually reduce,” said MN Srihari, an expert in traffic issues.

In 2019, the city traffic police control department registered a total of 7925134 cases. Among those, 50457 cases were booked under reckless driving, 61531 under over-speeding, 40602 under drunken driving. Thirty-eight cases of freewheeling were also registered. There have been no imprisonments for rash driving yet.

Siddharth, a motorcycle enthusiast, said one of the reasons for stunting on roads is the shortage of motorcycle tracks. “Bikers will always choose a designated area to perform stunts. On N.I.C.E road, most of the bikers test the top-end of their bikes along with stunts at the dead end.

“The ones without helmets are mostly youth below 18 who are new to bikes. Lack of awareness is the reason behind such activities,” he added.

“For offences committed by juveniles, the vehicle owner is penalized with a fine of Rs. 25,000 or imprisonment for three years or both. The registration of the vehicle can also be suspended for 12 months,” advocate Sarangi Sukruthi said.

Gokul Krishnan, a professional stuntman at Club Chainstrokers said that stunts are not to be performed on public roads. “The roads are not meant for unsafe riding. People who do wheelies on public roads lack professionalism and awareness. They put not only their lives but others’ lives in danger.”