Gardaí should have more powers to deal with the ongoing anti-social use of scramblers and quads, a Fine Gael TD has said.
Deputy Alan Farrell said communities around Dublin continue to be plagued by the noise and dangerous driving associated with these high-powered vehicles.
Deputy Farrell said: “When used incorrectly and driven at speed, quad bikes and scramblers pose a great danger to the youngsters driving them, as well as road users, pedestrians and children in public parks and open spaces.
“Worryingly, An Garda Síochána previously highlighted that most of the incidents of injuries or deaths involving these vehicles on public roads involved children under the age of 18.”
Deputy Farrell continued: “Targeted enforcement measures have been introduced in a number of areas where quad bikes and scramblers were causing difficulties.
“For example, Gardaí in areas such as Finglas have had success in reducing the number of issues with scramblers through targeted enforcement. Youth community engagement groups in Limerick have also had successes diverting young people away from using these vehicles in a dangerous manner in public places, and towards properly organised motocross events.
“I am now calling for widespread targeted enforcement to be rolled out in all areas affected by this issue. I firmly believe there is room for developing new legislative provisions in road traffic legislation without unintended consequences for existing laws.”
Deputy Farrell continued: “A cross agency group and subsequent subgroup met to discuss this issue late last year.
“As well as committing to exploring the development of new laws and enforcement in this area, it was also agreed that the Department of Justice and Equality would consider and develop actions in order to increase awareness of the dangers of these vehicles. This is to be done jointly with affected communities, community groups and other stakeholders, and will explore how best to engage with young persons who are drawn to this behaviour.
“I am aware that the Department is currently examining options in this area, with due regard to social distancing requirements.”
Deputy Farrell concluded: “The Programme for Government commits to convening an expert forum on anti-social behaviour and this will provide a key focus for further development of policy in this area.”