TD warns of dan­gers of quad bikes and scram­blers

Fingal Independent - - NEWS -

SPEAK­ING in the Dail re­cently, Bren­dan Ryan TD (LAB) gave his sup­port for the Road Traf­fic (Quads and Scram­blers) (Amend­ment) Bill 2017, which would re­strict the use of scram­bler mo­tor­cy­cles and quads in pub­lic places.

This was a prob­lem, he said, which had be­come ‘more and more preva­lent’ in the past five years, and was an is­sue fac­ing ar­eas of Fingal, in­clud­ing Bal­brig­gan beach, Don­abate and Port­marnock, ‘to name but a few.’

In the past three years alone, he said, over 180 peo­ple had been in­jured in ac­ci­dents in­volv­ing ‘off-road’ ve­hi­cles, in­clud­ing 39-year-old Ame­nian Ilabek Ave­tian, who was left in a veg­e­ta­tive state when a scram­bler mo­tor­cy­cle landed on him in a Dublin park last June.

‘While the Road Traf­fic Act 1961 re­stricts the us­age of these off-road ve­hi­cles to pub­lic places’, he said, ‘it has al­ways been in­ter­preted to mean only pub­lic roads.’

‘How­ever’, he added, ‘as the pub­lic knows, a per­cent­age of own­ers un­law­fully use their off-road ve­hi­cle in pub­lic spa­ces such as parks, green spa­ces, hous­ing es­tates and other pub­lic and pri­vate prop­er­ties.’

‘When they do’, he said, ‘they en­dan­ger pedes­tri­ans with the er­ratic and rash driv­ing of their ve­hi­cle.

‘There have been re­ports on such ve­hi­cles un­law­fully be­ing used in anti-so­cial be­hav­iour in Ward River Val­ley Park in Swords, in my con­stituency, and ar­eas in Fingal such as Bal­brig­gan beach, Don­abate and Port­marnock, to name just a few.’

He added: ‘In Ward River Val­ley Park in Swords, scram­bler users have been known to fol­low a so-called ‘cir­cuit’, which in­volves them ex­it­ing the park on the path to make a loop in an ad­join­ing es­tate and then turn­ing sharply back into the park.

‘It is the most dan­ger­ous grand prix I can imag­ine and only a mat­ter of time be­fore tragedy strikes at this lo­ca­tion.’

The Deputy said that peo­ple did not feel safe in shared pub­lic spa­ces, and that the Bill ef­fec­tively in­cludes all of these ar­eas within the ju­ris­dic­tion of the Garda to deal with the prob­lem.

Deputy Ryan ex­plained: ‘If in­di­vid­u­als can­not drive re­spon­si­bly, it not only puts oth­ers in dan­ger but also them­selves.’

He added that ‘by re­strict­ing where these ve­hi­cles can law­fully be driven, we can hold driv­ers ac­count­able to en­sure they en­gage in safe driv­ing prac­tices, not just for the safety of the pub­lic but also for their own safety’.

It was im­por­tant that the is­sue be dealt with na­tion­ally through the Depart­ment of Trans­port, Tourism and Sport and the Depart­ment of Jus­tice and Equal­ity, the Deputy added, say­ing it was ‘essen­tial’ that the Govern­ment ad­dress the is­sue.

The Labour TD said: ‘With Christ­mas ap­proach­ing, we know about the sad in­evitabil­ity of par­ents buy­ing these off-road ve­hi­cles for their chil­dren who are of­ten much too young.’

He con­cluded: ‘ Christ­mas Day is a day for fam­i­lies, open­ing presents and eat­ing a meal to­gether, not sit­ting in a hospi­tal wor­ry­ing about the state of one’s child, mother, fa­ther or friend who was in­volved in a quad bike or scram­bler mo­tor­cy­cle ac­ci­dent.’

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