Ma: Bicycle or Moped- Speed can be deadly

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Ma: Bicycle or Moped- Speed can be deadly

Postby Micronaut » Tue Oct 10, 2006 5:16 pm

Dangerous dilemma forces police to hesitate on racing laws

No matter what the machine- whether it's a car, bicycle, moped or motorcycle- speed can be deadly.

Fabio Teles, 22, of Taunton, became the most recent victim. He was killed Sunday after he crashed his high-performance motorcycle behind the Target store on Taunton Depot Drive. Police said speed may have been the key factor.

"It's a problem every time somebody races," said Taunton police Sgt. Colby Crossman.

While Crossman said regular but unregulated racing, on motorcycles or in cars, is not a problem in the city, it has been in the past, and police continue to hear complaints about motorcycles tearing down streets, popping wheelies and revving engines.

The spot behind Target is used by dirtbike riders and racing enthusiasts to push the limits of their machines. Teles, a graduate of Bristol-Plymouth Regional Technical School, was killed after he lost control of his bike and struck a cement pillar near the rear stairway of the store, police said.

When it comes to finding and stopping riders and drivers who, like Teles, may be putting themselves in danger, Crossman said police are in a difficult situation.

"Most of the time, unfortunately, they're not really afraid of us," he said of the bikers.

Last year police were able to break up drag-racing events taking place at the Myles Standish Industrial Park on a near-weekly basis, Crossman said, but until speed events become too publicized and draw crowds, it's hard for police to find races and practice areas.

When police do catch drag-racers and dirtbikers where they shouldn't be, the most commonly issued charge is operating to endanger, but that is often reduced to speeding, Crossman said.

"If we chase them, something bad happens, so we almost have to wait until they end up killing themselves," he said, because that is the only way to send the message that racing around at high speeds can be deadly.

"These bikes are only good for one thing - speed. They think they're invincible and they can't get killed," he said, referring to the bike's riders. "We can only hope that these kids get educated by this kid getting killed and they can turn around and say it's not worth getting in an accident like that."

Ted Poole, one of the owners of Pawtucket Cycle Inc., in Rehoboth, said motorcycle sales, for "cruisers" as well as high-performance bikes, have gone up in the past few years.

"More people are getting into the sport," he said. "The boomers are buying the cruisers and the teens and the 20s are more interested in the sportbikes."

Poole said that some of the machines he sells "go pretty much as fast as the driver wants them to" - up to 180 miles per hour - but it is not the motorcycle that causes the accident. It's the rider.

"They're making the decision of where to go, how fast to go, how slow to go," he said. "Yeah the bikes go very fast, but bicycles go fast enough to kill you."
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