Police seize nine motorbikes in month

Several non-street-legal motorcycles have been seized on Grand Cayman since late December in Royal Cayman Islands Police Service operations, including in one crackdown on Sunday.

The bikes were all either unregistered or unlicensed, or were being operated in a reckless or unsafe manner on public roads, police said.

Four dirt bikes and two motorcycles were taken in police roadblocks or operations in late December, according to the RCIPS.

On Sunday, three motorcycles were seized and five people were arrested on suspicion of various offenses, including reckless driving, disorderly conduct and traffic offenses.

The police operations are having some effect, according to Police Traffic Management Unit Inspector Ian Yearwood, but smaller groups of illegal motorcycle riders are still being spotted on local roads.

“We’re still going to have complaints, regardless of the size [of the bikers group],” he said. “The police do not want to stop people from riding motorbikes, but we have to try and protect our residents and keep the roads safe.”

Mr. Yearwood said Wednesday that police traffic officers have changed their focus somewhat following public outcry over the late November “ride of the century” on Grand Cayman. In that incident, dozens of illegal motorbikes took to the streets in an all-day ride, disobeying traffic laws and driving dangerously.

Some of the same behaviors were captured on video by the RCIPS helicopter during Sunday’s operations, Mr. Yearwood said.

Now the focus is less on dirt bikes and more on motorcycles of any type that are not registered for legal use, Mr. Yearwood said, or on drivers who blow through stop lights, “pop wheelies” or veer into opposite lanes of traffic.

Any vehicle that is unregistered or unlicensed may be seized by police, Mr. Yearwood said. If the vehicle owner can later prove the vehicle is registered and licensed, they can get it back, he said.

During Sunday’s police operations, the inspector noted that officers spoke with some individuals who had hitched their motorbikes to trailers and were taking them to the “marl pit” in George Town for some off-roading. Inspector Yearwood said police have no problems with that. As long as the vehicles are operated on private land, with the permission of the land owner, they don’t have to be registered for use on the public roads.

Police also spoke to parents of the motorbike riders on Sunday and discussed the possibility of opening some sort of public space off road where bike riders can use their unregistered vehicles.

“That’s something I would personally get myself involved in,” Mr. Yearwood said. “I drive a motorbike myself. I do not want to stop motorbike riders. We just don’t want the reckless and dangerous riding on the streets.”

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