Al-Merej, Libya – Motorcycle gangs were banned during the Muammar Gaddafi era. But since his regime fell in 2011, motorcycles are making a comeback.
Fakhri Al-Hassi used to ride his bike in the streets of Benghazi during Gadaffi’s rule, but was often arrested and harassed by the police for wearing leather clothes and badges which they said promoted imperialist ideas.
Also called “GO Fakhri”, he founded the Berynatchi Club in February 2013, through which he now organises weekly rides with other riders and maintenance workshops. Fakhri’s goal is to improve the image of the biking culture with the Libyan people and the police. Since the revolution, the number of motorcycles in the country has expanded greatly and with it the number of road traffic accidents. The biker says it is important that the club is registered with the Libyan authorities, and that all the bikers who join it have a drivers license so that trust and respect accrues with the Libyan authorities.
The club, which is one of the only two biker clubs in eastern Libya now has 55 members. For Fakhri, these clubs are a good chance to show that the revolution was not only political, but that it affected all parts Libyan society.