Sunday morning many awoke to the shocking news of former Indian Captain and Congress MP, Mohammed Azharuddin’s son Ayazuddin (19) and nephew Rahman (16) meeting with a serious accident on a ring road in Hyderabad. The boys are believed to have been speeding and while both received head injuries, Rahman succumbed to his injuries and Ayazuddin is said to be in a critical condition. The tragedy brings back into focus the grave lack of caution that young speedsters in the country display. Chennai too has its share of deviant drag racers who refuse to follow the rules.
Celebrated biker Dilip Rogger comments, “The drag racing groups in the city are simply illegal, unorganized and are not approved set-ups. Youngsters speed in their big modified bikes and are totally lax about safety.”
It seems like youngsters are simply carried away by the thrill. Young biker Alisha Abdullah agrees, “My friends brag about how fast they were driving and constantly compete over the highest speed. They fail to realise that it’s ‘safety first’. Shiban Patel who owns a 1000cc Yamaha R1, says, “Pillion riders are at a larger risk of getting injured because of the inclination of the back seat. I rarely take anyone as pillion because of the danger involved.”
Young racers are so driven on reaching a high speed that they begin to have unreasonable expectations from their machines. Harley Davidson, business head, Sterling James, informs, “Kids want their machines to be so powerful that they don’t bother about the breaking mechanism.” However, Arjun Anil from Coimbatore who owns a limited edition Yamaha R1, believes, “Bikes are safe, riders need to be responsible. Manufactures make sure that safety is always taken into consideration.”
Troubling as the attitude of youngsters may be, police authorities inform us that instances of drag racing have come down in Chennai. Additional commissioner of traffic, Sanjay Arora, tells us, “Instances of drag racing have been discovered on ECR and Beach Road. However, we’ve caught these young boys many times and have also brought their parents into picture.” The traffic department has been organising counseling sessions for speedsters and their parents during weekends. “This has helped in bringing down the enthusiasm of such groups,” says Sanjay Arora.