Fatal fads: Bike modification craze can kill you

If you have bought your teenager a trendy two-wheeler and the very next day he or she wants to get it modified to give it a sporty look, then put your foot down. It’s not just to save a few thousand rupees but to avoid fatal accidents.During August 2006 to July 2007, the police registered 944 motorbike accidents, more than 40 per cent of the total accidents in the Kathmandu valley, according to Metropolitan Police Traffic Division.
“Most of these bikes were modified,” Traffic SSP Bhisma Prasai said.Modification of the vehicle in any way is illegal and the owners are liable for legal action, said Prasai. “In the past one year, we have fined over 700 riders, who had modified their bikes,” he said.The police say they have also organised workshops for mechanics to raise awareness that modification in any form is not allowed.The repairmen in Kathmandu, however, say they find the young boys’ urge for changing the design irresistible, for it fetches them money and they can try their skills and put their creativity to use — albeit at the client’s risk.
And, the bikers say it’s trendy and fun riding the bike after modification . “All my friends have had their bikes modified,” Campion Academy student Pranab Pradhan said.Sagar Limbu of United Academy blames peer pressure for this rising trend . “While riding such bikes it gives confidence to speed up, drive roughly and fearlessly,” says he.Teenagers’ craze to modify their motorcycles only makes them more vulnerable to road accidents, police say.
“I had countless number of minor accidents while speeding” says Limbu. “My accident escapades even became a talking point among relatives and neighbours.”Roads in and around the valley are not speed-friendly with twists and turns every 200 metres or so and the motorbikes are scientifically designed to balance on two wheels. Changing the original structure only makes them more vulnerable to accidents, say the police.
By Mudita Bajracharya for The Himalayan Times

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