EDITORIAL – We’ve had it with dirtbags on dirt bikes

E-NOUGH.

You had to see it to believe it. Well, no; that is not exactly true. You actually might have heard it.

And, parenthetically, here’s an aside to our police commissioner Derek Byrne: We know you are new here but is this on your radar?

We are referring to Cayman’s growing gang of motorcycle hoodlums who openly flaunt the law and, both actually (see below) and figuratively, give the collective “finger” to law enforcement and the law-abiding citizens of these islands.

In this instance, we refer specifically to what a number of Compass reporters and editors witnessed at approximately 1:30 p.m. on Sunday.

As many as 100 bikers turned right from North Sound Road onto Shedden Road near Jacques Scott and the Compass Centre. We watched as dozens ran the red light (one gave the aforementioned “finger” to motorists who had the right of way), and raced toward town on Shedden Road. Many were showing off or apparently impressing each other by performing “wheelies” at high speed – in plain sight of the police helicopter and closed-circuit television cameras.

Let us count the ways in which this roaring hoard could have been breaking the law:

Many, if not most, of the cyclists were driving “dirt bikes.” It is against the law to drive dirt bikes on the streets of Grand Cayman. Most do not have headlights or taillights.

Many of the riders were driving without helmets. It is against the law to drive motorcycles without helmets.

Many of the motorcycles we witness every day either do not have license tags or they are purposely obscured or hidden behind a dark filtering plate. It is against the law to drive on Cayman roads without readable license tags.

It only takes a small leap in logic to deduce that if someone is driving an illegal dirt bike, without a helmet and without readable license tags, then they probably do not have insurance either, much less the special driver’s license needed to ride motorcycles.

In the context of multiple thefts of bikes from private businesses and even right out of the police evidence yard, there is a high probability that one or more of those bikers were riding stolen vehicles.

So each and every menacing motorbiker we encounter represents a potential six violations of the law … at least.

While it’s still illegal, it’s one thing for a lone individual to tool around on a bike within his own neighborhood. What we witnessed Sunday was quite another: A celebration of open, irreverent and coordinated lawlessness – and in a tourist destination, no less.

Have we as a society gone so far down this road, that when confronted by blatant illegality, we are willing to avert our gaze?

This is a problem for police. Don’t think, however, that we are blaming police for the problem – at least not the rank-and-file officers who, we hear, are just as frustrated and angry as we are about these bands of scofflaws.

It’s not our role as a newspaper to tell police how to fix the problem. Our role is to advocate for fixing it.

The police are in charge of this matter, and we trust they are professional, smart and dedicated enough to figure it out.

The people on the street are complaining about the rogue bikers. Police officers on the beat are, too.

But as for our MLAs in elected office, so far we have heard nothing. Silence.

When we see gangs of bikers terrorizing Cayman’s streets with their law-breaking antics, we see criminals. We wonder what our politicians see … perhaps voters?

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6 COMMENTS

  1. I think that sense it sounds like every good citizen of the Cayman Islands are against these out-law riders and their bikes , which I know is a real big problem . I would think that this is a good time for everyone to sign a petition on the use of these bikes on public roads , and the importation of bikes / parts , and control of these out-laws , and hand deliver in protest to all politicians at the LA and demand for it to be dealt with before next election , or else .

    This sounds like a big problem when you have these riders who don’t have responsibility for their own life , and no respect for other legal road users , and these kind of groups don’t stop with just ridin their bikes .

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    • I think it might take a bit more than a petition to get this tackled. 12 years ago there was a small village in the UK where this kind of thing started to become a problem. The police sat on their hands doing nothing so the residents (I was one of them at the time) took the law into their own hands. I won’t go into details because RCIPS could accuse me of incitement but the end result was the police were forced to move in and seize all the bikes before somebody got seriously hurt. The annoying thing was that from day one the cops not only knew exactly who was involved but also where the bikes were being stored – it took them about three hours to deal with it and I suspect the same applies here.

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  2. It’s not just the offroad bikes on the road, it’s also the numerous high powered racing bikes being ridden at speeds in excess of 60-70mph in George Town (eg the Walkers Rd speed straight) and slowing down only slightly to do wheelies. In my opinion these riders should be given an IQ test before they are granted a licence as many of them ride like 10 year olds.

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