One-wheeling: passport to death

Published: July 20, 2010

The government needs to enforce strict laws to eliminate this dangerous activity.

I was sitting outside a local tea shop with my friends, adjacent to Sanda Road when a bike came crashing into the footpath near us. A young boy aged around 16-18 lay on the pavement in a pool of blood.

The young boy had been riding his motorbike on the back-wheel through the city’s busiest road at high speeds. Sadly, he was unable to control his bike. This was the first time I encountered such a brutal accident and I pray to Allah that it may be the last.

Motorcyclists like this guy can be found displaying their dangerous stunts on busy roads of Pakistan without taking even basic precautionary measures like wearing a helmet. These bikers run through the streets on occasions like the eve of Independence Day, New Year, Eid, Shab-e-Baraat and many others. We now see the same bikers carrying out their stunts in different rallies and protests. We regularly read and hear news about accidents caused by these one-wheelers. Not only do they put their own life in danger, they endanger those of others as well. The government needs to enforce strict laws to eliminate this dangerous activity.

The practice of one-wheeling has been in operation for the last 15-18 years in Lahore and we can now find it in other cities and towns of Pakistan. Recent years have seen an alarming rise in this dangerous trend among the youth in Pakistan. These dare devils are often seen driving their bikes during the day and night on the back wheel, juggling while doing so and performing other dangerous stunts like lying flat on the seat of a moving bike, driving inversely and doing other dangerous tricks while their girlfriends ride with them. Most of these bikes run without silencers and the bikers make sure to give their bikes a complete make-over so that they have dazzling headlights, awkward designs without mudguards and fuel tanks adorned in different colours.

Some of these youngsters are also those involved in criminal activities, harassment and mobile snatching and other theft. They dodge traffic policemen and violate traffic laws. A special operation has now been launched against one-wheelers and many cases have been registered.

Among the many causes fuelling this dangerous trend is the practice of people betting on their favourite riders. In Pakistan people face a lack of recreational activities. We lack state-owned parks and opportunities for healthy sports. And then militancy and terrorism reduce any opportunities for healthy entertainment in the country. In these circumstances, people resort to dangerous activities like one-wheeling as a form of entertainment.

One Wheeling as sport

One wheeling is one of the unusual sports in the developed world, however never is it practiced the way it is here on busy roads and streets. In the USA, UK, Japan and other Western countries, one-wheeling is considered a sport in the form of unicycling, bicycling, tricycling, and motor biking. Unicycling is a sport taught in Japanese schools. In developed countries, joy riders are recognised by international federations. Daring stunts can be witnessed on sports channels where joy riders take part in international events and enjoy the speed and stunts they perform in a healthy and relatively safer environment.

The government should set up safe race tracks for riders and depute special trainers where riders can take part in biking activities in a healthy and safe environment.

Ghulam.Muhammad

Ghulam Muhammad Malik

A Sargodha based sub-editor at Express News

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • http://www.freewebtown.com/khattaks Saif khattak

    Dear Malik !
    They way you expressed your worst experience of seeing a young guy’s way to his final desitination is offcourese a sad and tender.but when you ask all these guys they just reply ; Shauq da koi moul nahi hunda; in that situation what can Govt. do when all these people are deliberately doing all that and according to you getting passport to theri death.
    I strongly aggreed with you Govt. must pass some strict laws and must introduce some other source of entertainment for these young kids to keep them away from such life threatenings games…..Recommend

  • http://absarahmed.wordpress.com/ Absar

    Sad. Such thrills are really life-taking at times. In my understanding, the government alone can’t do anything. These thrills that give temporarily pleasure and cheap adventure to teenagers and youth also need to be prudently and strictly eyed by parents and other house-elders. Recommend

  • http://www.pharmacytechnicianblog.com/ pharmacy technician

    nice post. thanks.Recommend

  • khuram Hashmi

    Dear GM,

    I appreciate your effort to get attraction of the readers like us. You are very right that one-wheeling is a curse not only for our society but also for our young generation. But it will go on until government does not take serious action and make laws to punish these bikers. I believe that one-wheeling is another way of committing suicide. Your article is a good and really wonderful effort to raise voice against such problems that can suffer our society on mass level. I believe that you will also write against such problems in future too.

    Best of luck.

    Khuram Hashmi
    District Manager
    Sanofi Aventis Recommend

  • Fateh Muhammad

    Dear GM ,
    It is very important issue which you have discussed particularly for the youngsters partipating in such disastrous situation.It not only destroys the costly life of dangerous motorbike riders but also resuls in fatal loss of innocent people and lifetime turmoil for the parents.Recommend

  • Sahibzada Shamim-ur-Rasool

    Thanks Ghulam Muhammad for pointing out a serious issue which is present in our urban society like a volcano which can burst at any moment and our responsibles are absolutely unaware of the seriousness of the situation. Being a media person, it is your moral obligation to launch media campaign on the issues like this. In my city Sargodha, it is a routine of some young boys to ride on motor bikes on Friday evening on University Road. They are usually in group of 15 to 20 bikes. They race and perform one wheel stunts in the middle of the busiest road of the city. Everyone knows about the fuss they create on the road except the worthy D.P.O and S.P traffic. The incident you have mentioned in your blog may be a good example for the youngsters and their irresponsible parents. Recommend

  • Dr Muhammad Nadeem Anwar

    Mr Ghulam Muhammad i really appricated you on diverting the attention of parents on this serious issue. Youngsters are playing their lives and they dont care what would be the consequencies. I requested to media person, take it a serious task and launch media campaign on one of this issues.Recommend

  • GM

    Yes, I agree with all of you, this is prime duty of all society elements to take up this matter on high priority basis.
    @gmmalikRecommend

  • Christine

    I agree there should be stricter laws regarding these bikers there not using common sense and they don’t care about themselves or anyone else in that matter. I live in Canada and even though the drivers wear helments that still doesn’t stop them from dying of the ingurys. So stiffen the laws before another family loses another loved one to stunt riding.Recommend

  • NAZAR

    Some youngsters change original body parts to convert their bikes in desired shapes. This also create lot of problems for identification in case of bike theft. This practice should also be discouraged.Recommend

  • zahid

    @ Nadeem Anwar…..Sir its really appreciating for all of us that our teacher encourage us by commeting on such sensitive issues but plzzzzzz do write correct englishRecommend

  • GM

    @Shanawar Riaz
    O sir jee this is very bad habbit but if you don’t mind some time i also do thet but not now…. Now I have left it completly….Recommend

  • arsalan

    Good job done by u Mr. Ghulam Muhammad by rasiing such a sensitive issue……bit i think if the young guys give up this game of one-wheeling then what to do??? They have no recreational facilities apart from such dangerous games u should have given suggession to Govt. officials to provide recreational facilities so that we the young generation give up this game not by force but by our own will…Recommend