The police have decided to fall back on strength in numbers to check rash bikers on the city’s streets.
During the four days of Durga Puja — October 11-14 — the anti-race driving cell of the police detained 137 bikers and confiscated their two-wheelers.
Source in the police on Thursday said the cell, which was revived earlier this year, would be expanded for more effective checks.
The cell would also get the police department’s six speed guns that no one uses at present.
“The rash bikers, who are also called leheriyas in Patna because they sway on their bikes at full speed, are a menace. The special cell has been formed to keep them in check,” a police officer said.
He added: “During Durga Puja and Dussehra this year, the cell was successful in catching 137 bikers for speeding. They were detained till October 15 and their two-wheelers confiscated. They are now being fined and released.”
The fine for rash driving under the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, is Rs 1,000. It increases if the bikers do not have proper papers with them.
Despite the success in the festive season, the police want to increase the strength of the cell to make it more effective.
“The problem is that the cell has too few people to effectively root out the biker menace. The strength of the cell needs to be increased. The police are working towards it,” said the police officer.
At present, the cell consists of 12 parties or groups, each consisting of three cops.
“The strength of the cell is 36. Each party consists of a sub-inspector and two constables,” the officer said.
The men in the cell move around in civvies. Once they spot a speeding bike, its colour and make, along with the driver’s appearance, is recorded. Another team down the road is informed and the biker is caught as he passes by.
“The department is thinking of increasing the number of parties to 24 and number of personnel to 72,” the officer said.
As the cell has fewer members, they are able to concentrate on only one or two roads at a time. Increasing the cell’s strength would help them function more efficiently.
“The personnel in the cell keep changing their places. For instance, if they are keeping watch on Bailey Road one day, they have to deploy a lot of personnel there, as the road is long and more people are required to keep an eye on it. But if the strength of the cell is increased, they can carry out their drives at more than one place simultaneously,” another officer said.
The personnel in the cell would also be able to discharge their duties more effectively by using speed guns.
“At present, these (the speed guns) are lying unused but these would soon be handed over to the anti-race driving cell. It would help the cell members effectively document the speeding bikers and charge fine,” the officer said.
The speed guns are not being used by the traffic department, as these do not have cameras.
“Though the guns can detect if a particular vehicle is speeding, these do not have cameras to click the picture of the biker or its registration number,” a police officer said.
Senior superintendent of police Manu Maharaj had a different view.
“In Patna, it is difficult to use these speed guns, as the roads are shorter. One needs a long stretch of road in order to make the equipment work effectively,” he said.
Explaining his point, Maharaj said: “A long stretch gives sufficient time to record the speed of the biker. A short stretch does not give one the time.”
Daily commuters, however, disagree.
“There are many roads in Patna, which are long enough. One example is Bailey Road. The road leading to the Patna Airport is another example,” said Arun Kumar Singh, a bank employee.
He added: “Rash bikers are a real menace. They have no regard for others or traffic rules. An increase in the number of men in the cell is welcome but it needs to work more effectively.”