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Friday, Feb 28, 2020

Police Plan Crackdown On ATVs, Motor Cycles Following Public Education

Police Plan Crackdown On ATVs, Motor Cycles Following Public Education

The Royal Virgin Islands Police Force (RVIPF) plans a two-tiered approach, which will involve public education and thereafter strict enforcement, when dealing with the lingering problem around motor bikes.

In a release today, January 17, the police indicated that the thrust of the public education will seek to enlighten all persons about the territory’s road traffic laws and any recent amendments.

Though the focus of public complaints may be about motor bikes, the RVIPF stated a commitment to ensuring that all road users are aware of the laws and their individual duties and responsibilities whilst operating on the roads of the territory.

"This includes the illegal use of ‘All Terrain Vehicles (ATV’s) on the roads which are only allowed off road or with a special license from DMV for organized tourism and an authorised tour guide present. Any other use on the road is illegal and riders will expect to be prosecuted. The ongoing enforcement aspect will see the RVIPF vigorously targeting breaches of these laws and prosecuting all offenders found committing offences," the RVIPF stated.

Based on operations over the past weeks, the RVIPF is aware that there are quite a number of motor bike riders who are minors.

"It is believed that parents have gifted them these bikes and through their actions have enabled their children to commit offences," the RVIPF stated.

Further, the police stated that a number of the motor bikes are in an unsafe condition which puts not only the rider at risk but other road users as well. This is also compounded with the removal of the silencers from the bikes which contributes to the noise pollution within the Territory; both of which are against the law.

"Though the RVIPF has impounded a large number of illegal motor bikes off the streets in recent weeks, some persons continue to break the law; however, the force will continue to robustly enforce the laws of the Territory. A number of individuals have already been caught and are now being prosecuted through the courts," the RVIPF stated.

Commissioner of Police, Michael Matthews stated, “The RVIPF strongly encourages persons who make use of motor bikes to do so responsibly, abide by all the laws of the Territory and to wear all required safety equipment mandated by law. We also further encourage those persons to make use of the public road responsibly and in a safe manner, bearing in mind the other motorists on the road while also observing all road signs throughout the Territory.”


Former First Lady Appeal

The announcement follows a public appeal from Former first lady Mrs Lorna Smith to Matthews and Premier Hon. Andrew Fahie to intervene and put a stop to the 'assult' by noisy bikers, particularly in the wee hours of the morning.

She said if something is not done to address the issue, it can send residents crazy and drive away tourists to more peaceful environments.

“I have written to you both numerous times about the drag racing that started about two months ago from six am to midnight every day by [sic] sad to say motor bikers (unemployed) who have obviously removed the mufflers from bikes with the result that there is an unbearable assault on the ears of residents of Road Town and McNamara along Road Town to Sea Cow's Bay drive, daily for this extended period of time,” she said in a letter penned over the weekend.

The issue of noise pollution from scooters ad other bikes has been a long-term one and is continually raised by residents at various community meetings.

Smith lamented that she was promised that a long term solution is in the making, but the matter has gotten only worse as bikers - many unlicensed, without helmets and other appropriate safety gear continue to race up and down the streets without let or hindrance, “pop a wheeling in the middle of traffic as I have said to you before until the early hours of the morning.”

She continued, “Please Sirs, I am again appealing to you to do what has to be done to stop this assault. As I write this email its 12.06 am and the noise is continuing unabated despite my appeal for help!”

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