Johannesburg – Biker groups in Gauteng have been warning of an increase in motorcycle hijackings, particularly in the Kempton Park area, by armed criminals on bikes.
Riders have been shot in the head and pushed off their bikes by hijackers riding pillion on motorcycles, who then ride away on the hijacked machine – and because they are appropriately dressed in riding gear and helmets, there is no reason for law enforcement to pull them over unless they witness the actual crime.
Which has happened, resulting in the arrest of the perpetrators; but that just proves the threat is real, says MasterDrive’s Eugene Herbert, a biker himself, and all the more reason to take precautions against motorcycle hijacking.
Here’s what you should be doing:
The most important thing is also the saddest: Don’t assume that all fellow bikers are friendly.
If a biker carrying a pillion pulls up alongside, don’t let yourself get boxed in. Try to leave an escape route, so that if the pillion gets off and moves towards you, you can safely pull away.
Riders are especially vulnerable when their bike is stationary (because you’re not inside, you’re on top), so be aware of strangers standing around your bike as you walk towards it. Rather walk past, go into a crowded shop and watch them through the window.
When you’re riding towards a red light, slow right down to avoid coming to a complete stop. Be aware of pedestrians hanging around at traffic lights, or at the entrance to your driveway - ride straight past, go to a safe haven and call the neighbourhood watch – if you don’t have their emergency number on your phone, get it!
Keep your driveway clear and well-lit, so there’s no place for hijackers to hide. If you suspect somebody is following you, ride on to the nearest safe haven, preferably a well-lit public place with lots of people around; most hijackers don’t want an audience.
And lastly, don’t ride the same route every day; go the long way round sometimes, take the scenic route – that’s why you ride a bike anyway, isn’t it?
There are cases on record of motorists avoiding carefully-concealed hijackers by approaching their homes from the other direction, coming up behind them and zooming safely past!