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Dublin: 17 °C Sunday 18 August, 2019

Varadkar says 'better enforcement' is needed to tackle scrambler bikes, but no new law

Varadkar said the use of scrambler bikes in parks and community areas is a ‘very serious and dangerous act’.

Government has opposed two opposition Bills to tackle the use of quad bikes.
Government has opposed two opposition Bills to tackle the use of quad bikes.
Image: Shutterstock/Toa55

TAOISEACH LEO VARADKAR has said better law enforcement, rather than the roll-out of new legislation, is needed to tackle the issue of scrambler bikes.

Ruling out any new legislation, despite admitting it is an issue in his own constituency, Varadkar told the Dáil today that the use of scrambler bikes in parks and community areas is a “very serious and dangerous act”. 

Recent statistics released by the HSE reveal that 62 people were injured last year in accidents involving off-road vehicles like scrambler bikes. 

The use of such vehicles hit the headlines last year when an Armenian man, Ilabek Avetian, suffered devastating injuries after being struck by a scrambler while sunbathing with his wife in a park in Darndale on the city’s northside.

Avetian lost an eye and suffered brain injuries as a result of the crash.

Today, Róisín Shortall of the Social Democrats asked the Taoiseach if he or any of his ministers had given any thought as to how to regulate the use of the bikes. 

Varadkar said thought has been given to the matter.

Last year, a number of state agencies, including the gardaí, were consulted to see whether legislation is needed to tackle the use scrambler and quad bikes in public.

The Attorney General was also consulted on whether the issue could be dealt with under public order offences legislation relating to vehicle misuse off public roads.

Educating young people 

The Taoiseach told the Dáil today that the cross-agency report recommended to government that “targeted measures” such as better education for young people about the use of the bikes should be rolled out, rather than any new legislation. 

He said a Section 30 of the Road Traffic Act can also deal with enforcement issues, adding that better enforcement and more education for young people is needed to deal with the issue. 

Last year, the government opposed a Sinn Féin Bill which sought to tighten regulations around the use of quads and scramblers. 

The Sinn Féin Bill sought to give gardaí the power to seize and detain quad bikes and scrambler motorcycles when being used unlawfully. The government also opposed a Fianna Fáil Bill this year on the same subject.

At the time, Transport Minister Shane Ross said gardaí already have the powers to deal with scramblers and squad bikes, stating that replicating the law “would add nothing”.

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