Justice Minister, Charlie Flanagan, will consider additional legislation to tackle the anti-social misuse of scramblers and quad bikes.

There have been a number of incidents involving the all-terrain vehicles (ATV) over the past few months.

A video of youths on quad bikes, scrambler bikes, and mopeds, almost colliding with cars on Dublin city streets on Christmas Day, went viral.

In January, South Dublin County Council issued a warning about the driving of scramblers and quads without the wearing of proper headgear and protective equipment.

This followed two incidents, one of which was a head-on collision with a jeep, in which the driver of the quad escaped serious injuries.

Responding to a parliamentary question from Dublin North West Fine Gael TD Noel Rock, Mr Flanagan said he would be liaising with gardaí, the Revenue Commissioners, and a number of government departments.

I am very concerned, in relation to the serious public-safety issues associated with the misuse of scramblers and quad bikes.

 

“A multi-agency approach is required to tackle this anti-social issue effectively, said Mr Flanagan.”

He has written to State agencies to ascertain whether there are additional legislative solutions, “which can assist in dealing with this serious issue more comprehensively”.

The minister said his department would chair a meeting “to identify more effective, possible solutions and determine responsibility and timeframes for implementation.”

“Despite the existing road traffic and other relevant legislation available in this area, the garda authorities have indicated that there are issues of safety involved in enforcement of these laws, which are best-addressed through a multi-agency approach,” said Mr Flanagan.

I am informed that gardaí are working with local authorities, including park authorities, to examine other solutions, such as engineering solutions. Enhanced fencing and bike gates are examples of engineering measures taken to restrict access to parks.

Last year, Sinn Féin introduced a bill to address what it said were shortcomings in legislation, which allow the users of such vehicles to evade gardaí, because of the definition of the lands on which they drive the bikes.

“The law, as it stands, prohibits the use of these ATVs on public roads, unless fully insured and taxed, and the vehicles have to meet other regulatory requirements,” said Dublin North-West TD Dessie Ellis in proposing the bill.

“There is a hole in the legislation, which allows people who use these vehicles for anti-social behaviour to sidestep gardaí in public spaces and avoid any penalties. This bill will deal with the issue... by extending the powers of the gardaí, by increasing the definition of the public space, in regards to the road traffic act, to parks and greens.”


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