Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Motorcycle Crime Around the World: Thugs on Bikes Give Us a Bad Name

Motorcycle Crime Around the World

Because thugs on bikes have been involved in a number of crimes(bombings, drive-by shootings, etc.), more scrutiny has been placed on motorcyclists in some countries (i.e., Georgia, India, Honduras). For example, the AMA recently alerted motorcycle enthusiasts traveling in Central America that Honduras has banned motorcycle passengers. Here are two related articles:

1. Honduras bans motorcycle passengers after drive-by shootings

Politicians in Honduras have voted to ban motorcycle passengers after two drive-by killings threw the spotlight back on to the country's increasingly desperate security situation. MPs approved the law on Wednesday night, during a closed session, arguing that it would help tackle a growing wave of drug-related slayings in the Central American country, now a major hub for traffickers smuggling cocaine into the USA.

"Given the current security situation, we believe that the appropriate response is allowing only one person [to ride] on motorcycles," Pompeyo Bonilla, the Honduran security minister, told Congress.

The move followed two high-profile murders in the capital, Tegucigalpa.
On Tuesday, Luz Marina Paz Villalobos, a radio show host, was gunned down outside her home by men on two motorbikes. The following day, Alfredo Landaverde, a prominent security expert and anti-corruption activist, was killed as he drove through the Honduran capital with his wife.

According to most estimates, Honduras now suffers from the world's highest murder rate. In 2010, there were around 82 murders per 100,000 inhabitants, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

Speaking to the Honduran newspaper La Tribuna, the mayor of Tegucigalpa, Ricardo Álvarez, suggested his country now needed outside support to battle the rise in violent crime.

"I think the entry of an international force in the country is something we must start to discuss and give serious thought to," he said, adding that the ban on motorcycle passengers could be "part of the solution to Honduras' plight."

"We are reaching a point at which we either save Honduras or all Hondurans sink together. We must come together and row in the same direction in order to stop the terrible wave of violence that is plaguing the nation," he added.

As Honduran politicians approved the ban on pillion passengers, there was outrage in Brazil's economic capital, Sào Paulo, over similar plans intended to clamp down on motorbike-riding thieves. The bill, voted through in late November by members of Sào Paulo's state parliament, now needs approval from the governor, Geraldo Alckmin. Alckmin has signalled that he will veto the new law.

"We are enormously concerned with the question of security but we need to be careful not to punish workers and low-income people who use motorbikes as a means of transport or for work," he said.

Writing on Twitter, Luiz Eduardo Soares, a leading security expert, remarked that lawmakers might also want to outlaw the use of shoes or people walking in pairs. "I'm astonished," he wrote.

2. Politicians argue move will help the fight against drug-related murders as country's security situation worsens

NEW DELHI (A P) — Assailants targeted Israeli diplomats in India and Georgia in near-simultaneous strikes Monday that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blamed on archenemy Iran, and its Lebanese proxy, Hezbollah.

The bombing of an Israeli diplomat's car in New Delhi by an attacker apparently on a motorcycle wounded four people, officials said. Israel said an attempted car bombing in Georgia was thwarted.

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