Monday September 26, 2022

France vows to tackle motorbike ‘rodeos’ after children hit

August 09, 2022

MARSEILLE: The French government pledged a new crackdown on Monday against illicit motorbike cruising by youths in suburbs across the country, after a two children were seriously injured by a rider near Paris.

The rowdy late-night races and stunts known as "rodeos" have become increasingly popular in particular in low-income neighbourhoods, leading to traffic and noise disruption denounced by local officials and many residents.

On Friday evening, a 10-year-old girl and an 11-year-old boy were hit by a rider while playing tag outside their home in Pontoise, northwest of the capital. French daily Le Figaro reported on Monday that the girl suffered a traumatic blow to the head and remained in serious condition at hospital, while the boy had a broken leg. The accident came after a 19-year-old man was killed in June after being hit by a bike rider in the western city of Rennes. "I have asked the police to step up their interventions this month," Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said in the southern city of Marseille, with a target of 10,000 controls nationwide.

Nonetheless the rodeos are often tolerated or defended as a gritty urban subculture that provides an outlet for disaffected youths, with an upcoming film, "Rodeo", that appears to glorify the gatherings and generated a strong buzz at the Cannes film festival last May.

"The government is very tough not against urban rodeos that some depict positively, as if it were a spectacle, but against these criminal acts that have killed or seriously wounded women and children, as we have just seen," Darmanin said.