By Leonie Stanton
A LEADING motorcycle association has slammed a group of ‘Mad Max’ style bikers who caused mayhem in Leeds on Halloween.
West Yorkshire Police were forced to close Kirkstall Road last Monday, when a group of up to 50 motorcyclists obstructed pavements and rode into the path of oncoming traffic.
Jim Freeman of the British Motorcycling Federation (BMF), a well-respected lobbying group, said: “The BMF utterly condemns their behaviour and supports whatever measures the police have taken to protect the public from people masquerading as ‘bikers’ and ‘motorcyclists’.
“They have been referred to as ‘bikers’ and ‘motorcyclists’, they are not. They were apparently riding unregistered, off-road vehicles – many of which were stolen.”
The three hours of chaos, which spread to the city centre, is said to have happened between 7pm and 10pm.
Police arrested a 30-year-old man on Thursday in connection to the incident and a 26-year-old man who was arrested on Tuesday in connection with the incident has been released on police bail pending further enquiries.
Lee Temple, 36, owns a catering van in Cross Green was surrounded by the bikers on Halloween.
He said: “They were driving straight at me and turning at the last minute. The headlights were shining straight at my windscreen, I couldn’t see a thing. I was largely driving blind a lot of the time.
“Some of them had masks on. Also, there were a lot in the shop car parks at the side of the road. Lord knows why the news kept saying ‘a group of 50 bikers’. There were far, far more than that.
“The main failing of the police that I could see was that although they closed the road at each end, people such as myself could get access through the side streets and there was zero police presence in amongst the action, leaving anyone caught up in it feeling helpless.”
Coun John Illingworth, who represents Kirkstall, has sympathised with the group despite the disruption it caused.
He said: “I do feel sorry for them because they don’t have anything else to do. These people have no other outlet. But it was a stupid thing to do, it did cause a lot of disruption. I hope it doesn’t happen again.”
West Yorkshire Police say that are working with Leeds Anti-Social Behaviour Team and LeedsWatch CCTV to identify individuals involved. The police also said they will use all available criminal and anti-social behaviour legislation to bring those involved to book.