By Crisan Evans
Ahh… The Yeng Yeng!
Recently, a petition to ban the notorious “Yeng Yeng” bikes surfaced and bikers started going crazy. One biker said, “You can’t blame the bike. Blame the riders.” It is very much clear that the bike cannot be blamed for the many crimes that have been committed, as it’s only an object. Even so, because of the ease to acquire it, criminals are becoming readily mobile and taking their crimes everywhere. Therefore, the best option is to place a ban on the popular motorcycle to deter crimes facilitated by its usage.
When I saw the petition, I reminisced on when I had just moved to Kingston and on how frequently I was advised to stay clear of these vehicles. I remembered one particularly late evening I was travelling on the road and heard one of those (Yeng Yeng) bikes slowly creeping up on me, and I had to run.
Luckily, this time, what I feared was going to happen didn’t happen and the bike just strode right past me. I was left terrified. Even though I was lucky that night, many others weren’t. They either ended up robbed of property or robbed of their lives. This experience is enough for me to stand firmly with the petition to ban these Yeng Yeng bikes.
Over the years, Yeng Yeng bike robberies have become a growing trend in Jamaica, and it is time for us to put an end to it. It has come to the point where bike robberies have entered the phase of organized crime – where several criminals use their bikes to flank their victims from several angles to prevent them from escaping.
The Yeng Yeng bikes are also linked to several home invasions and burglaries. One such case is that of a robbery that took place in the Mona community earlier this year, in July. According to the Jamaica Observer, the robbery involved roughly six criminals. A video uploaded on social media showed these men invading the premises, vandalizing the place and robbing the home of several items. It is now clear that bike robberies have moved from roadsides and parks to home invasions.
Robberies are not the only thing these Yeng Yeng bikes are synonymous with but also the breaching of the Traffic Law. According to an article published by The Gleaner in December 2019, motorcyclists were accountable for 122 traffic fatalities in 2019 – the largest cohort, followed by pedestrians. Why is this so? Because these bikers don’t believe that they should stop at red lights. Many bikers also see it fit to speed and perform crazy stunts in densely populated areas – which often results in crashes which often lead to fatalities.
“With the huge surge in the number of bikes imported in the past few years and an increase in the [driving] population since 2007, it is expected that the fatality rates would climb…,” said Lucien Jones, Vice-Chairman of the National Road Safety Council, as quoted in the 2019 Gleaner report. From observation, now more than ever before, there is a very large number of bikes on the roads. Other motorists are left not only to look out for themselves but also these [Yeng Yeng] bike riders as many continue to run red lights, ride on sidewalks, and ride closely between vehicles, and the list could go on. This presents a very unfair situation for law-abiding motorists.
It has come to a point where we are now wondering whether or not some of these riders are crazy because of the stunts they often perform on busy roads. Signing this petition means that traffic-related deaths would decrease and there would be fewer motorbike robberies. I urge Jamaicans to take the initiative and do their part in contributing to safety in our homes, parks, and on the roads. Sign the petition.
Crisan Evans is a content creator and journalist whose passion lies in unravelling stories, reading, and writing poetry and other creatives. She completed her studies in Journalism at CARIMAC, UWI and wants to contribute to changes in society through her journalism career.
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