“Riding a motorcycle is a form of sport for us and we do not want to harass people, that’s why we formed Hawks of Kirkuk team to show the positive image of motorcycle and its riders,” Nibras Al-Yamani told Kirkuk Now.
Yamani wants to prove that motorcyclists abide to traffic rules and conduct community services like all other people.
The idea of having a team came to the mind of Al-Yamani, 41, when the society prompted a radical negative social image of motorcycle riders. His inspiration followed the formation “Hawks of Iraq in Baghdad” in 2015 led by captain Saif Al-Fartoussi, sharing the same vision.
“Riding a motorcycle is a form of sport for us and we do not want to harass people," Nibras Al-Yamani, captain of Hawks of Kirkuk biking team.
Al-Yamani contacted Baghdad motorcyclists and established Hawks of Kirkuk in 2019. The 42 members of the team are ranked in four levels, from all ethnic and religious groups in Kirkuk: Arabs, Kurds, Turkmen, Muslims and Christians.
Cycling culture emerged after fall of Saddam regime in 2003, as an affordable transportation mainly for the youngsters whom people accuse of being a source harassment for cars and pedestrians crystalizing a negative impact about motor riders in general.
“I don’t like bikers as they usually harass me verbally for no reason, said Elaph Awchi, 20, student at the university of Kirkuk. “They also make big noises in the residential areas by their engines except some who are moderate and use it for breadwinning,” she added.
She hopes Kirkuk Hawks will be successful to convert the negative image. “Kirkuk always needs people who show a positive image of the city.”
The booming biking culture in Iraq is still not at its golden age compared to neighbor countries like Iran for example.
“I don’t like bikers as they usually harass me verbally for no reason, said Elaph Awchi, 20, student at the university of Kirkuk.
Andy Andreas Dominique, 26, member of the Hawks team, believes the negative social perspective is one of the challenges biking sport is facing currently. His group thrives to show the positive side of this sport. He confirms team members are driving good bikes, no noise, and abide to traffic laws by using helmets and gloves.
Dominique slammed at bikers riding in an uncivilized way prompting the negative view. The goal of the team is community service and show a bright side of the city.
One of the team missions is charity community service. Team members celebrate police day and national events. They also painted several schools and road pavements.
Hawks of Kirkuk funds itself through member donations. Each member pays a 10,000 Iraqi dinar monthly subscription that can be used for maintenance in the bikes. “We are all volunteers and receive no any funds,” Captain Yamani confirmed.
Rules to join Kirkuk hawks social and technical: age, riding experience, social conduct, loyalty and a 250cc engine bike Yamani explains.
“Our slogan is bad bikers do not represent us,” Dominique proudly said