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'These machines are not toys'

Wednesday, 18th November, 2020 5:43pm

A bill to further regulate the illegal and reckless use of scramblers and quad bikes has entered its first stage in the Dáil.

The bill sets out to make further provision for the seizure, confiscation and disposal of such vehicles by the gardaí.

According to the gardaí, a total of six people were killed in incidents involving a quad bike or scrambler between 2014 and 2019, three of whom were under the age of 18. In the same period, 60 people were injured while using the vehicles.

A campaign urging parents not to buy their children quad bikes or scramblers for Christmas was recently launched by the gardaí and the Road Safety Authority (RSA).

Sinn Féin TD Thomas Gould said that the dangerous use of quads and scramblers is a serious issue in urban areas in particular and communities “must be protected”.

Deputy Gould said: “The current legislation does not give gardaí sufficient powers to protect communities and adequately apprehend those using scramblers and quads in a dangerous or reckless manner.”

“More must be done. gardaí must be trained to apprehend those on quads and scramblers safely and they must have the resources to do so.”

In October, a man was arrested in Cork when a ten year old boy was seen riding a scrambler around a public green in Fairhill without a helmet.

It is illegal to ride all terrain vehicles such as scramblers and quad bikes anywhere other than on private land in Ireland.

Assistant Commissioner Paula Hillman, National Roads Policing and Community Engagement Bureau, An Garda Síochána, said: “The use of scramblers and quads by children poses a serious safety hazard. These are powerful machines, which have the potential to severely or fatally injure someone. That’s why they not suitable to be used by children or inexperienced riders. Parents considering buying quadbikes or scramblers for their children this Christmas, need to be aware that when used on a public road they are subject to the same rules as other mechanically propelled vehicles. They are required to be registered, taxed and in good road-worthy condition. The driver of the vehicle must hold the appropriate driving licence and be insured.”

Liz O’Donnell, RSA Chairperson, added: “Every Christmas, quad bikes and scramblers are given as presents, sometimes to very young children, so it’s important people are informed of the risks. These machines are not toys.”

“If you’re planning to gift a quad bike or scrambler this Christmas, please reconsider. If it’s the thought that counts, please think again.”

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