Jagruti Viraj Hogale, 34, and two other women were heading from Bandra to Jawhar, a popular tourist spot known for its waterfalls, on a weekend getaway, said Mumbai police.
A 34-year-old biker from Kalanagar in Bandra (E) died after her vehicle crashed into a pothole on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad Highway on Sunday afternoon. The accident occurred near Veti village, around 100 km from Mumbai when victim Jagruti Hogale and two other bikers were on their way to Jawhar.
Jagruti, a member of women’s only Bikerni Motorcycle Club and a freelance advertising professional, was riding a 350cc Royal Enfield Thunderbird and got crushed under a truck after falling from the bike.
She leaves behind her husband Viraj and their nine-year-old son Archit, and her funeral on Sunday night witnessed several bikers from across the city mourning her demise.
Preliminary investigation by the Kasa police, which recorded statements of bikers Mrunal Nair and Dnyada Maskar, both residents of Navi Mumbai and members of Bikerni Motorcycle Club, revealed the pothole Jagruti crashed into was filled with water and she probably didn’t realize its depth.
“The three bikers had left Mumbai around 8 am to visit Jawhar, a town frequented by tourists.They had planned to return home by evening,” an officer from Kasa Police Station said. A case has been registered under the Central Motor Vehicles Act.
Statements from fellow bikers and eyewitnesses revealed Jagruti was riding at a normal speed and landed in a pothole as she tried overtaking a truck. “Eyewitnesses told us her bike was inches away from the truck as she fell. She was wearing a helmet, but got crushed and died on the spot,” said a police officer who was one of the first to reach the spot.
Jagruti was one of the most active members of the Bikerni Motorcycle Group, which has more than 600 members across the country. She had a few days ago posted pictures on social media about one of her road trips, and bikers from the city said she was an expert rider, having undertaken trips across India.
Urvashi Patole, a founder of Bikerni, was inconsolable when Jagruti’s pyre was lit. “She was a part of several biking expeditions,” Patole said.”She was an example of what a person can achieve. Apart from riding bikes, Jagruti was a long-distance runner, a trekker, and a member of the Morya Dhol Tasha Patthak,” Patole added.
Several bikers vented their frustration, blaming the authorities for Jagruti’s death. “If this death is indeed due to bad roads, I as a voter am seriously frustrated and disgusted,” a social media post by veteran biker Sushant Waradkar said.
Another biking enthusiast, Nandu Chavan, said: “To all bikers, please watch for bad roads, and ride safe.”
Biker Dhiraj Patil, who knew Jagruti, posted, “We lost a legendary rider Jagruti Hogale from Mumbai, one of the best riders in India. You will be missed every moment by the riders’ community. Rest in peace.”
With PTI inputs