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Battling illegal dirt bikes: New legislation expected

Newly crafted legislation could change the way police deal with illegal dirt bikes.
Police Commissioner Derek Byrne says existing laws limit what his officers can do.
Cayman 27’s Carolina Lopez has more.
When it comes to getting illegal dirt bikes off the road Commissioner of Police Derek Byrne says there’s a two-pronged approach.

“I see both sides. I’m very acutely aware of the impact it has on the law enforcement requirement, which is strong. But also trying to work earnestly to solve the problem.”

As far as enforcement, he said, the law does not offer police officers the powers they need.

“It’s very restricted. Very limited. It needed a change and as soon as we identified the issues, the Attorney General Chambers worked on it and we’re now at the final stages of, I would hope, getting the paper to Cabinet for approval,” said Mr. Byrne.

He said a new bill coming down the pipeline would change that.

“We will have stronger powers in terms of seizing and retaining the bikes, which is a particular difficulty for us at the moment,” Mr. Byrne said.

That’s the enforcement side of things. From a problem-solving point of view, he said, police have teamed up with other agencies like the Licensing Department and Customs.

“To see how these bikes are arriving into the country. What papers are being produced? And how we’re going to record those details at the point of entry,” he said.

The last thing he wants to do is use too much force with rogue riders, which he said, could shake the communities’ trust in police.

He said that’s what happened at last year’s Ride of the Century event.
“I was out actually on the day myself and I saw the impact it can have our communities so that’s genuine it’s tangible and I can see it,” the Commissoner said.

He believes the track under construction in East End will go a long way in offering law-abiding bikers a place to ride.

“And it is a legitimate sport. It is a legitimate hobby for people. Bring your bike there insured, license, coupon and by all means bring it you drive it within the regulations on the road, you get your opportunity to do whatever has to be done offroad on the track in a controlled environment,” he added.

He believes these tactics will go a long way in keeping Cayman’s roads safe. Mr. Byrne expects the draft legislation to be presented to Cabinet soon.

About the author

Reshma Ragoonath

Reshma Ragoonath

Reshma Ragoonath is a Trinidadian journalist with 18 years media experience with a strong background in print with her most recent stint at The Cayman Reporter. She has a BA in Mass Communications, as well as, an Associate degree in Journalism and Public Relations.

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