Legislators in the British Virgin Islands are being asked to implement stricter penalties for scooter riders, while parents are being told to take responsibility for their teenage riders.
Police Commissioner Michael Matthews made the call last evening amid increased complaints about bikers in the territory.
“We need to have some legislation that says your scooter – if you are seen riding it recklessly or you’re caught without insurance or without a license; let’s get some really tough legislation on the books that says the police can seize it and we scrap it straight away. No messing about. Take it down the yard, put it in the crusher, remove it from the territory.”
“That would send a very clear message to anybody that if they’ve made an investment in a machine … you got to ride it sensibly and safely otherwise the police service are gonna take it away,” said Commissioner Matthews during the Honestly Speaking radio programme last evening.
The top cop also said parents who buy motor scooters for teenagers must ensure that these young riders obey the laws of the road.
“It’s not just giving them a machine. You got a responsibility to make sure they are insured, make sure they are licensed, make sure that they are capable of riding that machine,” Matthews said.
Some parents unaware
“I also recognize that there will be parents that aren’t even aware that their young kids are getting access to these machines because some get shared around by groups of young men. We are seeking to tackle it. We’ve increased our motorcycling capability. But the last thing I’d want on my hands is to have one of my officers pursue a scooter only to be involved either in an accident themselves or the scooter rider comes off, then the suggestion is that law enforcement caused the accident.”
The commissioner also joined the growing list of persons calling for legislators to increase the age requirements to ride a motor scooter.
According to the Road Traffic Regulations, a person may learn to drive a motorcycle at the age of 16 and above.
Police records show that young riders are involved in most scooter accidents in the territory, Matthews said.
He also said that most scooter accidents happen because of the way the two-wheel vehicles were ridden.
“Potentially, [they are] inexperienced riders or riders doing dangerous stunts on the scooters that have led to them leaving that scooter, hitting the road, and suffering or sustaining serious injuries,” the top cop said.
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