How do you stop bikers bent on channelling their inner Valentino Rossi — considered one of the greatest motorcycle racers of all time — as they turn Mumbai’s roads, meant for traffic, into race tracks?
The Mumbai traffic police say they have a plan. Sources in the department said senior officials are mulling about installing automatic number plate recognition (ANPR ) cameras at the roads these rogue bikers frequent.
The stretch from Bandra Reclamation towards the Bandra-Worli Sea Link, Carter Road and Kherwadi flyover are a few of the stretches the bikers love. Most of these bikers are youngsters who ride for a thrill. Some ride for money, which is not news for the Mumbai police.
However, there is little that the law enforcement officials have been able to do to put a stop to the daredevil stunts the bikers pull. These bikers mostly take to the streets during weekends and Monday nights where they race and perform stunts. Even as various accidents have been reported owing to these bikers local officers chasing them is barely a solution.
The traffic police are also closely working with local police stations including Kherwadi and Bandra police teams to increase police presence at these spots.
“Trying to catch them in a chase is not only dangerous for the policemen on their trail, but also for those bikers. Police vehicles are deployed during the hours we suspect the bikers get out on the roads,” said Sanjay Jadhav, deputy commissioner of police, traffic.
While the city has been covered in 4,762 CCTV cameras and there are eight speed-detection cameras on the Eastern Freeway, authorities have also installed speed-detection cameras on the sea link.
From December 31 to January 9 , the traffic police have registered 2,223 cases against motorists speeding on the sea link.
Similarly, the traffic police are planning to have speed-detection cameras along Kherwadi flyover and Bandra Reclamation . “We have also sent a proposal to install rumble strips on these stretches. The strips deter bikers from racing on the roads and the incidents of racing are likely to come down if the strips are installed,” said an officer from the western suburbs.
An officer said some bikers are intoxicated, some under the influence of drugs, while racing and they ride at a dangerously high speed making it risky to stop them. “If we catch any bikers, after registering an offence against them, we get in touch with their families. It is only through proper dialogue can this problem be solved,” added Jadhav.
Traffic police are also conducting seminars at schools and colleges to spread awareness on safety laws, rules and regulations while driving and the importance of wearing helmets. Officials said as some of the bikers are college students, getting them involved in road-safety discussions can go a long way.