Boy racers back to bug moteliers

ASHLEIGH STEWART
Last updated 05:00 10/01/2014

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City moteliers worry the street-racing movement is gaining momentum again despite police claims that Christchurch streets are no longer plagued by boy racers.

Since the anti-cruising bylaw was implemented in 2010, police say no fines have been handed out to boy racers caught in breach of the law.

The Government-driven incentive aimed to ban cars driving on selected streets repeatedly between 10pm and 5am, with offenders eligible for fines of up to $1000. Police have also noted a decrease in boy racer-related callouts.

However, local businesses around the boy racer-favoured "four avenues" believe the faction is returning. Argyle On The Park owner Maggie Grant has "had enough", after a stolen car crashed outside her motel and roused guests last weekend.

The city's boy racer problem was getting worse but many people had little energy left to continue notifying police, she said.

"If you asked a lot of moteliers on the avenues they say the same thing: ‘What's the point?'

"After the earthquakes it was really quiet but it's actually gaining momentum again."

Many now did one lap of the avenues, drove elsewhere for a period of time and then returned to get around the law, Grant said.

A Tai Tapu resident, who did not want to be named, said crowds of boy racers now descended on the area.

"They just seem to run riot in the weekends - we don't get much sleep," she said. "They put diesel on the road and rip up and down."

Ministry of Justice figures show Christchurch has almost double the number of illegal street offences than Manukau, the next highest centre.

In Christchurch, there were 618 offences recorded from December 1, 2009 to June 30, 2013. The city also had the highest number of drivers on either three or two driving-related offences.

Road policing manager Inspector Al Stewart said the statistics reflected a higher focus on enforcement in Christchurch, rather than more offenders.

There had been a 24 per cent reduction in calls relating to boy racer activity in the last quarter of 2013, compared to the previous quarter. The same period had a 21 per cent decrease in the number of tickets handed out and cars being impounded.

"In my mind, that's a success," Stewart said. "The bylaw has had exactly the effect that everyone wanted it to have, and that is it has acted as a deterrent."

Stewart said there was "always going to be bad nights", but the city was "nowhere near where we were prior to the earthquake".

Amross Court owner Sue Richardson said the motel no longer had problems with boy racers, as they had worked with police on light phasing at the Bealey Ave-Papanui Rd intersection.

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- The Press

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