Over 1,600 fines were slapped on motorcyclists in the city on Navami, an officer of Kolkata police said on Wednesday.
Several officers of Kolkata police’s traffic department said reckless driving by motorcyclists was a big menace during this Durga Puja. In many cases, none of the riders on a bike was wearing a helmet.
According to the officer at Lalbazar, 1,652 fines were issued on Navami. Of these, 1,176 fines were issued between 10pm on Tuesday and 3am on Wednesday.
Officers said there had been a significant rise in the number of two-wheelers this Puja, compared with the one in 2019, which was the last pre-Covid Durga Puja.
An officer said a large number of people had purchased two-wheelers during the pandemic to avoid travelling in crowded public transport. “I would say there has been a hundred per cent rise in the number of two-wheelers on Kolkata’s roads this Puja compared with Puja 2019,” said an officer with three decades of experience in managing traffic.
Over 50 motorcyclists were prosecuted at the Rashbehari crossing and 35 at the Park Circus seven-point crossing on Navami night.
The maximum number of fines were issued for riding with more than one person on the pillion. Rash driving, speeding and drink driving were among the other common offences.
An officer said 122 fines were issued for riding a two-wheeler in an inebriated condition. Several officers of Kolkata police’s traffic department said that compared with previous years, a higher percentage of two-wheeler riders wore helmets this year.
But a sharp rise in the number of two-wheelers on the road meant the absolute number of two-wheeler riders or pillion riders without a helmet was very high. “About 30 per cent of the people on two-wheelers were without helmets,” said an officer.
The amount of fine has increased manifold since January, when the transport department notified a rise in the fine amounts. The fine for driving a two-wheeler in a rash and reckless manner is Rs 5,000.
For helmet-less riding, Rs 1,000 is the fine for first offence. For each subsequent offence, the fine is Rs 2,000. For drink driving, the police seize the vehicle and file a case. A court then imposes a fine on the offender.
A police officer said he had witnessed two or three instances of two-wheeler riders almost coming under the wheels of a bus or a car because of reckless riding during the Puja.
“Motorcycles try to get ahead through the narrow space on the left of buses and cars. This is dangerous,” said the officer.
Rajibul Lakskar, 35, a motorcyclist, was killed after he crashed the two-wheeler into a lamp post near Lauhati in Rajarhat early on Wednesday.