Bikers are always in a hurry to break traffic rules — be it to zip their way past a traffic maze, come in the way of pedestrians, start riding even when the traffic light suggests otherwise or just ride without a helmet. That perhaps explains why they top the list of speeding violators in the city.
According to the Mumbai traffic police, 11,405 cases of rash driving have been registered in 2015, of which more than half — 5,441 — are against bikers. They are also responsible for a majority of accidents, said officials. “We have witnessed cases where the biker may have tried to overtake a bus and got run over. But even in such a case, it will be the bus driver who will be arrested for causing death because of negligence,” said a traffic officer.
Another common problem involving bikers, according to the traffic department, is racing, commonly witnessed along the Bandra reclamation and the western express highway. Vijayalakhsmi Hiremath, in-charge, Bandra traffic division, has approached the authorities to install rumblers along the highway and reclamation area. “Bikers, especially the ones who race for thrill, forget their family is waiting for them. The families should try and encourage bikers to wear helmets,” said Sujata Patil, senior inspector at the Kherwadi police station, explaining how in August a similar race cost a biker from Malwani his life. The biker crashed into a car ahead of him while racing on the western express highway, suffering severe head injuries.
“Bikers are being termed a problem only because they break traffic rules. The Mumbai traffic police department seems to be struggling to discipline them,” said Akanksha Srivastava, a college student.
In 2015, the traffic department booked 3.41 lakh bikers for riding without helmet, a staggering rise compared to 2014, when 2.88 lakh bikers were penalised for the offence. Moreover, they are often seen riding in the opposite direction or on the footpath, endangering pedestrians’ lives. During his stint as the joint commissioner at the traffic department in 2014, Dr BK Upadhyay had directed the department to book bikers riding in the opposite direction for rash and negligent driving under section 279 of the Indian Penal Code. Earlier, the bikers were let off after paying a fine of Rs100 under the Motor Vehicles Act.
However, over the past few months, the intensive checks on speeding and other such violations have been reduced considerably.
“During the festive season from September to December, the traffic as well as the city police were on bandobast duty, leaving very little scope for drives against speeding and other violations,” said a senior officer from the traffic headquarters, adding the force will revive the drives soon.