BANGKOK — Hundreds gathered on Bhumibol Bridge yesterday evening for a two-wheel protest against a new ban on riding across the bridge and dozens of other spans in the capital.
In photos and videos shared online Thursday night, the event was described as a protest against a ban keeping them off a number of flyovers and underpasses around Bangkok. Many said it effectively prevented them from crossing the Chao Phraya River.
Police denied any such act of civil disobedience occurred, saying the cyclists assembled there only because they were afraid of being fined at a police checkpoint on the other side of the bridge.
“They saw a checkpoint, and they knew what they were doing was illegal,” said police Maj. Porameth Tangjitsamathi of the Phra Pradaeng Police Station. “So they waited on the bridge and rode down when we stopped checking.”
Poremeth said the group only gathered in the lane heading from Rama III Road to Phra Pradaeng for 15 minutes at 6pm. He believed there was about a thousand motorcycles.
Under the order issued Wednesday by the Metropolitan Police Bureau, motorcycles, bicycles and tuk-tuks cannot use the 39 flyovers and six underpasses in Bangkok which lack a lane for slower vehicles, such as Bhumibol Bridge.
Deputy Metropolitan police chief Maj. Gen. Adul Narongsak said the ban is aimed at relieving congestion from accidents. Those who violate it will be fined 500 baht to 1,000 baht, he said.