On early Sunday morning, 19-year old Karan Pandey lost his life to bullets fired by a cop, who was reportedly trying to stop a group of youngsters from performing dangerous biking stunts in a high security zone in the Capital. This has brought to light, the key question of why these youngsters are willing to take deadly risks for a few minutes of quick thrill. In 2011, cricketer Mohammed Azharuddin’s son Ayazuddin, 19, had also lost his life when his speeding sports bike crashed near Hyderabad.
While stunt bikers defend themselves by saying that taking such risks is part of the game, psychiatrists call it a combination of the quest for adrenaline rush, coupled with inspiration from films that glorify heroes performing such dangerous biking stunts.
“Young minds are the most impressionable and when they have a role model, they want to be like him. For young boys, it’s often a film hero such as John Abraham or Hrithik Roshan who comes out a winner after any dangerous stunt,” explains psychiatrist Dr Avdesh Sharma, adding, “Apart from copying a role model, speed driving gives an adrenaline rush to many, especially when they are in groups trying to outdo each other. They also feel the urge to break set patterns — the law in this case — so they get more thrill by ignoring the police and thereby telling the world that they care a hoot.”
A city-based stunt biker who doesn’t wish to be named, says that even though they’re aware of the dangers and the costs, it’s indeed the ‘high’ that keeps them going. “Police ke saath hum masti kartein hai speeding karke. It’s risky but fun,” he says, adding, “Dangers apart, it’s expensive too. Bikes have to be customised. Special handbrakes cost Rs 30,000, and high performance fuel costs Rs 700 per litre. Our monthly running cost comes to Rs 20,000, and if one is ready to spend that much, we’re okay taking him in our stunt biking group.” “Even if he’s a minor,” he adds.
Tarique Afaque, founder of a 400-member biker’s club, Royal Mavericks, however feels that such recklessness by some is killing it for other ‘fair’ bikers. “Professional riding clubs are never like this, and we maintain all protocols including safety gears and speed limits. We support the police in this matter, but such incidents will put us, too, in bad light, and the sport will suffer.