“Dirt bikers cause havoc at Rum Point” … The country’s most-wanted and least-liked band of blacktop bullies made headlines in the Cayman Compass again this week.
As alarming as Wednesday’s front-page story was, it could have been far worse.
It was sheer luck that no one was injured or killed during Sunday’s commotion at Grand Cayman’s famed getaway spot, when an illegal motorbiker, attempting to make his own “getaway” from police, drove his vehicle onto the beach and reportedly “nearly struck people and children on the sand,” according to law enforcement.
In sum, a half-dozen rowdy motorbikers had gathered in the area, popping wheelies, revving their engines and endangering everyone nearby. They scattered in all directions after police arrived, and for now have managed to evade arrest.
What exactly will it take for authorities to get control of this problem? With every incident, it becomes increasingly clear that current means, methods and strategies are not dealing effectively with Cayman’s menacing motorbikes.
- Last month, a 15-year-old boy riding a stolen Kawasaki was permanently injured when he collided with a car
- In May, a man interfered with a political meeting in George Town, shouting obscenities and revving his motorbike so loudly it drowned out the speakers. He then crashed his bike into a car, injuring the driver, before running from police
- And who could forget last year’s “Ride of the Century” – when more than 100 motorcycles, dirt bikes and all-terrain vehicles (some street legal, many not) terrorized the residents of Grand Cayman en masse while openly flouting traffic laws?
The above bullet points are merely anecdotes. The real “evidence” of Cayman’s motorbike problem is witnessed by road users every day, as bikers exhibit flagrant disregard for public safety and the law, riding without helmets, popping wheelies, speeding, cutting through traffic between lanes, etc., with apparent impunity.
The difficulties police have in apprehending miscreant motorbikers are obvious.
The small, nimble and speedy vehicles are notoriously hard to catch and – particularly with so many unlicensed, untagged and unidentifiable bikes on the road – difficult to trace.
We are certain that police are as frustrated as the citizenry by the motorbike problem, perhaps even more so. Clearly the blame lies elsewhere, and the evidence points to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and the courts. To date, the DPP has been unable to secure even one conviction of an illegal motorbiker since the so-called “crackdown” began. In fact, delays in prosecution are now compelling police to return confiscated motorbikes to their owners, without innocence or guilt being adjudicated.
While police may indeed be discouraged, they could and should be making many more arrests. If we as motorists see illegal motorbikers every day on Cayman’s roadways, surely 300 police officers see 300 times that number.
No one should be comforted by the police pronouncement that they are receiving fewer complaints than before. An alternative interpretation: Maybe people have simply grown tired of complaining. Why bother?
Perhaps Cayman’s public prosecutors consider these violations to be low-level, unimportant cases. If so, they are wrong.
Frankly, we have no idea why these cases are not being vigorously, and expeditiously, pursued. The motorbikers’ ongoing display of unlawful behavior threatens not only the security and tranquility of our island but, importantly, it also erodes the public faith in our entire law enforcement apparatus.