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Dublin: 4 °C Monday 27 January, 2020

Gardaí examining footage of child who was thrown from scrambler bike

Dublin Lord Mayor Paul McAuliffe also said a pregnant woman was hit by a scrambler bike on Christmas Day.

File photo of scrambler bike seized by gardaí.
File photo of scrambler bike seized by gardaí.
Image: An Garda Síochána

GARDAÍ ARE EXAMINING footage of a child being thrown from a small scrambler bike after it was widely circulated on social media in recent days.

The footage shows a small child being helped onto the bike by a man. As he starts to move the bike, the vehicle speeds up and strikes a lamppost, throwing the child onto the ground.

It is not clear where the video footage was taken, but a garda spokesperson said gardaí in the Dublin Metropolitan Region roads policing bureau are examining the footage. They said investigations are ongoing. 

Despite various campaigns, including advertisements about the dangers of these vehicles for children, in the run up to Christmas, there were still a number of reported incidents.

Dublin Lord Mayor Paul McAuliffe on Christmas morning said Dublin Fire Brigade attended an incident in which a pregnant woman was knocked down by a scrambler bike.

McAuliffe in the days before Christmas had appealed to parents not to buy quad bikes or scramblers for their children.

There was also a collision involving a number of vehicles in Ballymun on Christmas Day. 

Fianna Fáil councillor Keith Connolly said he was sent footage of the aftermath of the incident. 

“I don’t know whether it was because they were whizzing in and out of the cars, but it was linked to quads or scramblers,” he said. “There were three cars including a taxi damaged. Locals said there were scramblers and quads on that road all day as well.”

Connolly said he believes gardaí need to be given stronger powers and an assurance they will not be personally liable in a civil action if a child is injured while they are pursuing them.

“We need something like specialist bikers and specialised vehicles as well because four wheels against two just doesn’t work. In Finglas there was a specialist garda biker who would join the pursuit and they had a great success rate when he was doing it. The kids respected him as well and some would give up pursuit if he came along.”

He said legislation enabling gardaí to seize these vehicles from gardens without a warrant could make a difference. 

Although Connolly said he believes education is important, he said there were clear attempts to warn parents this year and “the message didn’t get through to some people”.

“There were ads in the cinema in December and the Lord Mayor had appealed to people as well. It doesn’t matter how much warning you give, sometimes there needs to be a harder handed approach”. 

Legislative change

An inter-agency group was established last year by the Department of Justice to examine the misuse of scramblers and quad bikes in Ireland. Part of this work has been to review criminal justice and public order legislation to ensure that An Garda Síochána possesses the necessary powers to deal with the issue.

In response to a recent parliamentary question, Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan told Social Democrats TD Róisín Shortall that the group, at its last formal meeting in March this year, had agreed that, “in the main”, current legislative provisions appeared to be sufficient.

“Nonetheless it was also agreed that the group would remain open to considering workable legislative solutions to any specific legislative gaps specifically identified by An Garda Síochána,” he said.

Flanagan said his officials had written to the Garda Commissioner on the issue and Drew Harris in his response suggested “potential legislative changes which the organisation believes could assist in improving policing in this area”.

He said these proposals are received detailed consideration in his department and have been shared with the Department of Transport.

These proposals were also further scrutinised by the cross-agency group earlier this month to “ascertain whether they can be progressed alongside targeted enforcement measures, awareness raising and youth engagement, which are key to success in combatting this behaviour”.

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