THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Street racing, which was once a serious headache for the capital city residents, is making a comeback. This amateurish sports event that has already taken quite a number of young lives and was once brought under control by the City Police, is again becoming an addictive recreation activity for the youngsters here.
An accident involving a speeding bike and a car took place in front of AKG Centre here on Tuesday morning. It is learnt that the General Hospital - Palayam Road where the accident happened had witnessed a race of two motorcycles just before the mishap.
It was two years ago that the City Police initiated strong measures against racing teams. The main route which became infamous for racing was the Kowdiar-Vellayambalam stretch. Bikers even from outside the city arrived in this area to take part in the bike racing. These racing activities had resulted in numerous accidents along this stretch, leading to several deaths.
Later, the police installed surveillance cameras to identify the ‘racers’ in the city limits. These cameras were mainly placed along the Kowdiar-Vellayambalam road. As a result, the racers no longer considered this area as their favourite racing track. These cameras also became helpful for the police to track vehicles violating traffic rules. For the ‘helmet hunt’ also these cameras became useful. Gradually, issues related to racing almost vanished from the city.
It was then that the announcement of the visit of India’s first formula one driver Narain Karthikeyan to the city was made. During his visit, Narain expressed his desire to carry out a mock race in the city. The Kowdiar - Palayam route was chosen as the ‘racing track’. A Formula 1 car which could touch speeds of up to 300 km per hour was supposed to be used in that race. But owing to stiff opposition from various quarters, the organisers were forced to cancel the event.
However, the steps taken by the police till then to check racing on city roads became outdated as a result of this incident. And now, the amateur racers are again active in the city and continue their racing activities unabated.
Several ‘moto clubs’ are active in the city at present. The members of these clubs arrange the races and stunts using their high-cost bikes. In fact, these clubs are the reason behind the sudden increase in the number of sports bikes in the city. They have numerous members and well-wishers in the capital itself. A majority of them are in the age group of 17-22 years.
Like in other states, these clubs choose roads near the beach to stage their stunts. Though they regularly engage in racing there, the young bloods find thrill in conducting ‘casual’ performances in the heart of the city, one of which resulted in Tuesday’s accident in front of AKG Centre.
Lack of stringent action from the City Police has been cited as the reason for these mishaps.