No more wheelies for bilious bikers
* Law banning motorcycle acrobatics finalised
* Violators of the law to be punished with 6-month imprisonment with fine
By Aayan Ali
LAHORE: The Punjab government has finalised the draft of a law against wheelers to prevent an increasing number of deaths and injuries from wheelie accidents.
Sources said that a standing committee of the Punjab Assembly has approved the law and the draft is ready to be presented in the assembly. The bill – The Provincial Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill 2006 - will be tabled in the Punjab Assembly at the upcoming session. According to the amendment, wheelies will be punished by imprisonment for up to six months and a fine, while the offender’s motorcycle will also be confiscated.
Sources said that the law against wheelies was being introduced in view of the increasing deaths from it, especially among the youth. It also endangered the lives of other drivers and passers-by, they said. “There is a dire need for the eradication of this dangerous act with an effective law,” Punjab government officials said.
According to the finalised Section 99-A of the bill: “Whoever rides a motorcycle in any public place while standing or lying on one wheel, which endangers human life or property or is likely to endanger human life or property, shall be liable to be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months or fine which may extend to Rs 2,000 or both.
“Whoever, having previously been convicted of an offence specified in the aforementioned subsection (1), commits the same within three years of his or her previous conviction, shall, for every subsequent offence, be liable to be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years or fine which may extend to Rs 10,000, or both.”
“If the motorcycle is owned by the accused or any of his blood relations, the same shall not be released before or during the trial of the offence and may be forfeited at the time of conviction of accused,” the amendment reads. Sources said that offence under this section shall be tried in the court of a judicial magistrate of the first class.
However, habitual thrill-seekers have reacted to the proposed ban with defiance. While many ‘dare-devils’ have been severely injured in wheelie accidents, they have not been deterred from repeating the dangerous stunt. “If severe injuries and fractures don’t stop us from wheeling, how will this paperwork stop us?” said a group of wheelers from the Saddar area. “The government has never been able to stop robberies and dacoity, which is their main job. Now they want to stop one-wheelers so that they can pretend to be useful.”
Five such bikers have already died in 2006. Naveed, 23, died while doing wheelies on Multan Road on Friday morning. Twenty-four-year-old Ali lost control of his motorcycle during a similar stunt in Gulberg. He was rushed to the hospital, but died from excessive bleeding. Muhammad Awais, 20, died when his bike slipped while he was wheeling on Ferozpur Road near Kotlakhpat.
A total of 45 youth, between 14 and 27 years of age, have died in wheelie accidents in the past years.