March 6: The Bengal government is in talks with legal experts to find a way of imposing steep fines on those riding two-wheelers dangerously.
The move, aimed at tackling speeding two-wheelers, follows chief minister Mamata Banerjee's concerns regarding reckless driving.
Illegal bike racing has become rampant, resulting in accidents and deaths, she had said while presenting the clinical establishments bill in the Assembly on March 3. "Motor vehicle rules need to be more stringent," she had said.
Transport department officials then started consulting legal experts to find a solution.
Racing bikers are now prosecuted under the motor vehicles act. The first offence of dangerous or reckless riding can result in up to six months' jail or fine of up to Rs 1,000 or both, a traffic police officer said. Subsequent offences carry a jail term of up to two years or fine of up to Rs 2,000 or both, he said.
It is similar to Section 279 of the IPC that deals with rash driving, the officer said.
A biker caught speeding is now fined Rs 400.
A transport department official said the government was working on a fine amount that would "pinch two-wheeler riders really hard". They would be forced to think before committing an offence, the official said.
"We have held several rounds of meeting with police and officials from the legal department. The idea is to find a way out," Suvendu Adhikari, state transport minister, said.
Besides imposing a steep fine, the vehicle could be seized and released after a certain period, an official from the legal department said.
Records in Lalbazar suggest two-wheelers account for almost 30 per cent of road accidents in the city.
More than 50 people on two-wheelers were killed in road accidents between last July and December.
The police have banned two-wheelers on city flyovers (illegal racing hotspots) between 10pm and 6am.
Payel Guha, 18, and her friend Rahul Banerjee, 20, were killed on February 26 in a bike accident on the Kamalgazi flyover.
The police had said Banerjee was racing another two-wheeler when he lost control and rammed into the parapet of the flyover around 10.30pm.
Guha had been flung off the seat and she plunged 40ft down from the flyover on impact and landed on the bonnet of a moving Ola cab before falling on the road. Neither was wearing a helmet at the time of the accident, the police had said.
Some days before that bike accidents claimed a Class XI student in Sonarpur and a man in Howrah.