The thrills and spills of racing

Courting danger

The thrills and spills  of racing

For some youngsters, biking gets their adrenaline going. The pulsating rides only get more thrilling as roads get broader.

Young boys are increasingly taking to wheelies and drag racing in the dead of the night. But the thrill always comes at a price. The riders not only put themselves at risk but also other road users at peril. The case of the BMW biker ramming into a tree in Malleswaram and losing his life is the latest example of what speeding can lead to.

Bangalore Traffic Police confirms that wheelie as an offence that falls under the category of rash and negligent driving is increasing at a steady pace in the City.

Metrolife interacts with Bangalore Traffic Police, those involved in unregulated races and motorsport enthusiasts to understand the dangers of racing and why it continues, despite claims by the traffic police of it being curbed.

Additional commissioner of police (traffic) B Dayanand points out that there is no separate category to book illegal drag racers. “It falls under the category of rash and negligent driving. The Motor Vehicles Act will have to be amended and a separate law will have to be passed to include illegal races under a separate category,” reasons Dayanand.

Illegal races are commonly observed on New Airport Road, NICE Road, Tumkur Road, Outer Ring Road and Bellary Road. “The bikes that are used for such races are mostly upgraded, modified and a lot of money is spent on sprucing up the engine power,” adds Dayanand, who states that additional traffic policemen have been deputed around areas where such illegal races are likely to take place.

People who indulge in unregulated races confess that they are always first introduced to it by their friends. There is no group that trains these regular drag racers but they meet regularly and most of these races involve the exchange of huge sums of money.

“Cash is used to purchase new bikes, upgrade bikes, purchase nitro, for painting and tuning the bike. Cash is earned by winning races against the other players and betting on races,” says a regular racer.

 Another biker, who regularly goes drag racing reasons, “We don’t stick to a particular location. Sometimes, it’s within the City or we even ride to the outskirts. Money and alcohol are the driving force for illegal races.” 

Regulars at motorsport events, where all the safety standards are met, think ‘illegal races’ kill the real thrill of racing. Chumdemo Shitio, an IT professional, thinks that the increasing number of illegal drag races and road stunt wheelies performed on public roads not only pose a big hazard to the riders themselves but more to the ordinary commuter.

“With no safety measures, emergency equipment or crew on stand-by, which is a must for any kind of motorsports, it’s a death-trap,” he reasons. He adds, “Worse is when the common man, who is not at all involved, becomes the victim of illegal drag races and road stunts.”

Vishal Raj, a motorsport enthusiast, points out that for any motorsport, the first thing that is scrutinised is ‘safety’ and the second thing is ‘discipline’ and Vishal feels these two aspects are missing when it comes to illegal races and wheeling. “These drag races don’t fall under the category of motorsports at all. There are no rules and safety aspects have been overlooked, when it comes to drag racing,” reasons Vishal. 

He has witnessed these drag races and doesn’t hesitate to say, “Those who indulge in illegal races are intoxicated drivers. That’s when they feel the adrenaline rush but they don’t realise that it’s the alcohol which gives them the fake guts and makes them completely ‘non-reflexive’, which is hazardous.”   

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