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Heartless city speeds past tragedy
High road of race and risk

Speed maniacs in town got their dream track in 2003, in the form of the 2.9km AJC Bose Road flyover.

“Young bikers suddenly found a speed corridor where they could play out their fantasies far above the gaze of law-enforcers,” said Rahul Mishra, a member of the now-disbanded organisation Monoshock, set up to campaign for safe biking.

The speed-bikers — many of them teenagers and most minus helmets — hit the flyover post-midnight, when there are no traffic cops around.

Bikers assemble at the foot of one end of the flyover. The corresponding point on the other flank is the finishing line. A biker has to speed along a flank, make a U-turn and zoom down the other flank before hitting the finishing line.

A section of speedsters prefers a slightly longer stretch — from the Park Circus seven-point crossing to the Red Road intersection and back, via the flyover.

Two years ago, a youth met with an accident near the same spot as Tuesday’s tragedy while speeding down the flyover around 2am. He died while being taken to SSKM Hospital. “Speed-biking stopped after that but only for a while. The youths take advantage of the absence of traffic cops at night,” said a senior officer at Lalbazar.

Tuesday morning’s tragedy made it clear that speed-biking is no longer just about midnight madness.

New Town Road is another favourite with the speed maniacs with the 14km artery now a playground for biking stunts.

Deputy commissioner (traffic) Dilip Bandopadhyay, however, denied that speed-biking was rampant on the AJC Bose Road flyover and in Rajarhat. “Such races have stopped following raids. As a result the number of accidents involving two-wheelers have come down from last year.”

The virtual world tells a different tale. On Facebook, there are at least eight city-based communities christened “free style biking group”, “stunt bikers” and “club warriorz”.

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