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News 26 Jul 17

Macedonian Police Crack Down on Street Racers

Macedonia’s police have boosted patrols in the capital Skopje in hope of stopping noisy and potentially dangerous night-time motorcycle and car races that upset city residents.

Sinisa Jakov Marusic
BIRN
Skopje
 

After receiving significant numbers of complaints from angry residents, traffic police in Skopje say they have already started arresting street racers who breach the peace and cause potential dangers at night-time and weekends.

“We are determined to establish traffic order and that’s that,” said Biljana Milevska from the Skopje police force.

“The police are and will be present on Skopje’s streets every day and all who endanger traffic safety will be sanctioned,” Milevska added.

She said that since last week, when the new measures for increased nocturnal checks at some city hotspots were put into effect, police have arrested over ten bikers and sports car owners for speeding, some for drunk driving and many more for not having the proper safety equipment or registrations.

Police however say that it is not easy to clamp down on the offenders as they often change venues for their races and communicate well on social networks to avoid patrols.

The problem with street racers is not new in the capital, as they have been using the city’s streets as racetracks for several years.

“It has become unbearable. You cannot sleep in the evenings and in the early morning hours because of the noise. Not to mention that it scares my children,” said Borce, a 40-year-old resident of Skopje’s Karposh district, where races usually take place on Partizanski Odredi boulevard.

“They are some brats from God knows where who want to show off with their shiny new bikes in the city centre. They drive on one wheel to impress someone; I don’t know, it is crazy,” said Milanka from Skopje’s Centar municipality.

However, some racers say they are not ready to end their illicit competitions on the city’s streets until the authorities build them a proper racing track.

“Because of the risk and the dangers on the city asphalt we often drive on the [Skopje] ring road where there is not much traffic,” a street racer from Skopje was quoted as telling Nova Makedonija newspaper on condition of anonymity.

“We have no intention of stopping until they [the authorities] open a proper race track where we would be able to satisfy our passion,” he added.

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