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Rift between police and scooter community?

Hodge speaking at the symposium that was held on Saturday, December 10. Photo: VINO
The turnout was small. Photo: VINO
The turnout was small. Photo: VINO
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – Scooter riders can be a nuisance at times, but according to Sandra Phillip Hodge, Director of Related by Humanity, she has learned of an alleged rift between the scooter riding community and the police.

This disclosure was made to her at a Youth Symposium and Safety Awareness Scooter show at the Purcell Community Center, which was held on Saturday December 10, 2011.

“Sources close to the scooter riding community claim that they are physically harassed by the police while riding their scooters, and I am not at liberty to say at this point if the allegations are true or false. However, the law provides mechanisms for which offenders can be charged. Therefore, Police breach of human rights principles should not be condoned or tolerated,” Hodge said.

“Neither should it be tolerated to have unlicensed, uninsured scooter bikes and riders circumventing the law and causing distress to other motorists and pedestrians in the community through accidents that cause injury or damages to people and/or their property. The issue has to be addressed from all angles, and corrective measures put in place to reduce the current statistics of reported incidents involving scooters,” the Director of Related by Humanity further stated.

Presentations were made by Youth Development Advocate Henderson Tittle; Police Constable (PC) Wendell Anthony, and Chris Ghiorse, director of the Bsafe programme.

It was suggested by Ghoirse that proper riding instructions should be provided for scooter riders similar to how drivers are prepared before going on a road test to obtain a driver’s license. He also noted that the Legislation on biking needs to be modernized, and described the current law that govern cycling and motor biking as “impractical and oppressive”.

Meanwhile, PC Anthony stated that the relevant authorities may need to redesign major highways to provide special lanes for scooters/motorbikes. He addressed the issue of peer pressure and ‘showing off’.

Asked what her thought on the symposium was, Hodge revealed that the inclement weather and uninsured and unlicensed scooter owners were factors for the small turnout. However, she added that the interactive session was well received.

Hodge was also disappointed that the feature activity of the scooter show did not take place but hopes that during the next BMSA car and bike show, it will be included.

13 Responses to “Rift between police and scooter community?”

  • home boy (13/12/2011, 09:13) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    we need to bring back the bigger bikes....talk dat
  • gee (13/12/2011, 09:33) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    scooter community!!!? they are a sub culture or something? this interesting!
  • PS (13/12/2011, 09:47) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    The scooters should explain how they are harassed by the police. Using labels like "harassment" don't quite cut it they must describe the actions of the police. Most of these riders are about the island without helmets and bobbing and weaving in and out of traffic endangering their lives and others. Several of them even transport children on their scooters without helmets. There must be a limit to what is permissible under the law and the law must be enforced. Scooters are a great means of transport for short runs and convenient for maneuvering the busy traffic, however, riders must exercise caution in their operation just like any other vehicle. If used for recreational purposes (as they often are) extra care must be taken. Many like to blame the cops for not doing their jobs but when they do there are complains. On any given day one can observe riders parading about without helmets. Ironically, I have observed many females riding and in most cases they are wearing helmets while their male counterparts are often without, even when transporting females. Something must be done about this. Are we going to wait until there are a few fatal or serious accidents to become concerned? Prevention is far better than any cure.
    • jaze (13/12/2011, 13:19) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      @ PS...I agree with your comment. I do not believe that we need any special lanes to accommodate scooters/motorcycles. That is downright stupidity. This is what I believe we need: 1) A documented and well throughout program to train persons how to ride properly should be prerequisite to a motorcycle/scooter license being issued. 2) There should be 2 types of licenses issued - one for scooters and one for motorcycles; the same as with cars - one for standard and the other for automatic transmissions. 3) Insurance companies should set their rates based on the size of engine of the motorcycle or scooter. 4) Stiff fines should be in place for riding without a helmet. 5) Stiff fines should be in place (along with the motorcycle or scooter in question) for those caught riding without a motorcycle or scooter license and/or a licensed/insured motorcycle/scooter. 6) Stiff fines should be imposed for those caught riding recklessly, speeding, etc. or riding with a muffler that does not have the adequate amount of baffling. 7) Government should lift the ban on importing motorcycles/scooters over 125cc. This is an oppressive and narrow-minded approach that was put into place because the (Land rover driving) police at the time could not keep up with the handful of motorcyclists who were breaking the law by speeding or making too much noise. It is as dumb as the Rasta law that we had years ago. You can import an 8 cylinder high-powered sports car, but you cannot import a 500cc motorcycle. So tell me, cannot the 8 cylinder sports car break the speed limits the same as the 500cc motorcycle? Can not the 8 cylinder sports car make extremely loud noise if you tamper or modify the exhaust system?
      • Lil Girl (13/12/2011, 22:05) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        Jaze, the points you listed are very informative and I think people reading this will agree. Some people want to ban the use of scooters altogether and have them just for the tourist. But I think having the riders get an actual license and insurance to ride these scooters are a good idea. When that is in place you somehow limit the number of small children riding the scooters up and down the streets and bobbing in and out of traffic. Passing through Lower Estate alone riders are constantly overtaking other cars and one day they will not live to see tomorrow. Something needs to be put in place because the younger generation are not protecting themselves.
        • Too L'il Girl (14/12/2011, 12:30) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
          And think on this: These underage riders have no insurance. Your car is damaged or wrecked from trying to avoid the scooter. Your car is over 6 years old and all you have is 3rd party insurance. Guess who has no coverage? YOU!!! Now consider if a life is taken. Hopefully not yours, and more than likely the life of the scooter driver. Do you think there may be a lawsuit in the making? Some saddened family trying to blame the big SUV driver for not seeing their 14 year old son on his scooter? There is far too much risk with these children riding the bikes. This needs to be fixed as of today!
  • school bell (13/12/2011, 11:57) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    how come I did not know anything about this event????
    • Come again (13/12/2011, 20:22) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      Maybe that's why the turnout was small...check VINO's photo at the bottom.
  • Lisence & Insurance Please (13/12/2011, 12:03) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    I am happy to hear that the police are doing their job and stopping the scooter riders. As stated there are barely a rider that obeys the traffic laws. No helmets, waeving in and out of traffic. Cutting drivers off. They are creating their own rules of the road and putting the lives of others at risk. Furthermore, these scooters are massly being driven by underage, unlicenced drivers. This HAS to be stopped. These scooters need to be added to the Motor Vehicle Act and treated the same as any other. ALL drivers need a proper license and insurance before driving anywhere on the island. The DMV can add a scooter maneuvering course to it's services provided. In addition to ensuring all persons on a scooter are licensed and insured we are in need of a noise ordinance to control these pimped up mufflers that are becoming a growing nuisance. These modified mufflers are recognized as health hazards: "Noise pollution is unwanted human-created sound that has the effect of being annoying, distracting, painful, or physically harmful. People exposed to noise pollution suffer from hearing loss, sleep deprivation, chronic fatigue, anxiety, hostility, depression and hypertension. World Health Organization, National Institutes of Health, United Nations and numerous scientific and medical publications recognize noise pollution and its deleterious effects. The intense sound caused by modified mufflers and exhausts easily triggers an involuntary stress response commonly known as "fight or flight." This results in the secretion of adrenaline, with ensuing spikes in cardio-respiratory rates, muscle tension, and elevated blood pressure. Vibroacoustic Disease is a cumulative and chronic disease caused by exposure to infrasound. Infrasound is low frequency sound energy that affects the nervous system and prolonged exposure can lead to progressive medical conditions". Lastly, I say that in allowing our children to drive illegal scooters, illegally, we are teaching them they are above the law. As a parent, I will NOT allow my child do drive a scooter as I have seen the detrimental affects they are having on his friends, their school work, their activiities. Many have been caught burglarizing homes. When he is older and of legal driving age if there is a program in place to teach him the rules of the road, test his skills and his knowledge so that I can feel my boy is safe, then perhaps I will consider it. But until then, I appreciate the RVIPF checking on these riders to ensure they should be driving.
  • Rita (13/12/2011, 19:29) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    I applaud Mrs. Hodge for efforts and at least attention is being brought to the issue and solutions are being thrown out. I hope she continues to work with the scooter riders as it a problem that need resolving .
  • Come again (13/12/2011, 20:27) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    They really should change the law to make it illegal for anyone under the age of 65 years to have a scooter/motorcycle licence. By the time they get to 65 99% of them not going be interested or be able to ride one anyway. The scooters and motorcycles are more a of nuisance than anything and if you check the accident/death ratio of scooters to cars...that should give a better picture why scooters should be banned again.
  • Just wondering (14/12/2011, 09:54) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    I am wondering how scooter riding ties in with Human Rights Day.


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