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Residents’ retaliation: Vigilante justice against illegal bike racing in East Java

Indonesian residents in Ponorogo Regency are taking a stand against the growing menace of illegal street racing. A recent viral video captures residents destroying motorbikes used for illegal racing, reflecting widespread frustration with this hazardous practice.

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EAST JAVA, INDONESIA: Illegal racing is becoming an urgent issue on Indonesia’s streets, characterized by groups of youth pushing their motorbikes to extreme limits. These racers, often enveloped in a cacophony of roaring exhausts, engage in this perilous behaviour, giving little regard to the accidents it routinely spawns.

Several factors fuel this surge in unlawful races. Young riders are often drawn to the activity as a thrilling hobby or a chance to fill their leisure time. Some are lured by the promise of financial rewards through betting, while others find a sense of community in these gatherings.

Additionally, the thrill of new experiences and the lack of opportunities for legitimate racing also contribute to the problem. Without viable alternatives, these illegal events continue to risk lives and disrupt peace on the roads.

Recently, a video clip depicting infuriated residents taking matters into their own hands by vandalizing motorbikes used for illegal racing on the streets of Ponorogo Regency in East Java went viral on social media.

The video gained popularity after it was shared on Instagram by the account @ponorogo.update on Sunday (22 Oct).

In a brief, amateur video lasting less than one minute, a motorcyclist is seen losing control of a Yamaha F1Z motorbike while racing at high speeds on one of Ponorogo City’s roads on Saturday (21 Oct), even as the road remained busy.

Unfortunately, the young rider’s loss of control resulted in a collision.

Residents, clearly perturbed by the incident, promptly approached the rider.

One resident, attired in red, approached the fallen motorbike and threw a solid object, apparently a stone, at it. This action sparked a communal response, leading to the destruction of the rider’s motorbike.

Meanwhile, the young rider fled the scene.

Numerous online users voiced their approval of the motorbike destruction

As of the current moment, the video has been viewed over 121 thousand times.  The video was re-shared on X by the sosmedkeras account on Monday (23 Oct), where it garnered an additional 128 thousand views.

Many netizens expressed support for the destruction of the motorbikes, given the considerable disruption caused by illegal racing.

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They argued that participants in illegal racing often derive a sense of prestige from the attention they receive, even though they await the inevitable moment when a racer falls.

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In contrast, some netizens believed that the proliferation of illegal racing was a result of inadequate government facilities for legitimate racing.

They cited the example of the Landih Circuit in Bali, constructed by the Regent of Bangli, as a facility designed to cater to the interests of automotive sports enthusiasts, foster achievements in the field, and counteract the prevalence of illegal racing.

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Among those endorsing the destruction of motorbikes, some netizens contended that such actions were unnecessary, advocating instead for involving law enforcement agencies or authorities in addressing the issue.

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Residents have long been vexed and concerned about the menace of illegal racing

Ponorogo Police Chief Inspector Moch Mustofa Sahid, as reported by Kompas on Monday (23 Oct) confirmed that the incident occurred during a routine police patrol.

Upon realizing the approach of patrol officers, the motorbike racers involved in illegal races grew agitated and attempted to escape.

“It happened while we were on patrol. The motorbike owners were flustered and tried to flee,” Sahid explained.

He also noted that following the incident, the motorbike was promptly retrieved by its owner.

Sahid further pointed out that local residents had long been distressed and apprehensive about the behavior of motorcyclists who engaged in high-speed racing along the same road on Saturday nights.

“The community has genuine concerns about these motorbike riders who consistently speed along this route every Saturday night,” Sahid emphasized.

Legal statutes unambiguously prohibit drivers of motorized vehicles from engaging in races with other vehicles

Article 115 of Law Number 22 of 2009 pertaining to Road Traffic and Transportation expressly proscribes driving a vehicle at speeds surpassing the permissible speed limits and participating in races with other motorized vehicles.

Drivers found guilty of racing on public roads may face a maximum sentence of one year’s imprisonment or a fine of up to IDR 3 million (US$189)

Moreover, if illegal racing leads to public disturbances, individuals involved can also be charged under Article 503, subsection 1, of the Criminal Code, which stipulates a maximum prison term of three days or a fine of up to IDR 225 thousand (US$14.2) for causing noise or disruptions that disturb people’s sleep, particularly during nighttime hours.

The term “noisy” pertains to sounds that are both loud and bothersome, seemingly made in a frivolous or mischievous manner, such as the aggravating noise generated by a vehicle’s exhaust system.

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