CHENNAI: Last week the Madras High Court did not mince words when it came down heavily on the menace of bike racing in the city. It even wondered if police were hand-in-glove with the racers who speed at dreadful levels on the city roads to win bets against their friends.
But the city police in the past had taken steps like remanding the racers in an effort to contain the menace. However, the youngsters who come from varied backgrounds ranging from the IT industry to motorbike mechanics are finding newer ways to escape from the police radar and continue racing on city roads.
A source in a bike racing club says no longer do bikers wait for the city to sleep as they silently ride to a spot with their re-modelled two-wheelers and get a high on high-speed racing. They seem to have found new ways to continue bike racing.
Explaining the modus operandi, the source said, initially bike racing used to be conducted with around 6-10 vehicles beginning the race from a single point and covering a certain distance to reach the destination. But it has been rejigged in such a way that the starting points are different, but the distance they travel to reach the common destination is the same.
“At the starting point, the bikers are given tokens which they have to hand over at the final destination. In this case, whoever reaches first, wins the bet. The amount they fix starts from `500 and goes up to `5 lakh depending on the distance and the traffic,” the source added. “This way they easily escape the from police and also win the bet.”
However, this is only one of the many variants of racing. Another type is conducted only during nights especially on Kamarajar Salai, ECR, GST Road between 1 am and 3 am, where youngsters, with their re-modeled bikes, race to overtake their rivals through many stretches covering Santhome, Adyar, Madhya Koil Street in Royapuram, and South Canal Bank Road-Dr DGS Dinakaran Road. Racing is also held over short distances which cover only a few kilometers. However, it happens mostly during traffic as the speedsters have to create stunts to dodge and overcome road congestion.
However, police say that youngsters struggle to find less crowded stretches suitable for racing as the checks have been intensified on most roads in the city. In 2016 alone, around 5,000 cases of rash driving have been registered.
“During weekends and after 9 pm, checks have intensified to clamp down on motor racing. Stopping them during the race could be dangerous for the racer, public and the police. Hence, as a preventive measure we deploy police men in plain clothes to ensure that there are no betting on bike race. Though such cases have come down, mostly 2-3 people are now involved in such bets for a short distance in a particular locality. But rash driving is still prevalent; only when the bikers see the police van, they reduce the speed,” said a senior police officer.