Sinn Féin TD for Dublin South West Seán Crowe has said that quads and scrambler bikes should not be allowed on our streets or in our public spaces, such as parks, as the hazards presented to other users and the damage caused to surfaces is simply unacceptable.

Teachta Crowe also appealed to parents to consider the lack of facilities for these vehicles before buying them for their children, potentially as Christmas presents, saying that RSA figures show that half of all fatal accidents related to quads or scramblers involve under-18s.

Speaking in the Dáil last night on a Sinn Féin Bill to ban quads and scramblers from our public spaces, Teachta Crowe said:

“The misuse of quads and scrambler bikes in our public spaces is a problem stretching back years. From the dangers posed to both untrained users and pedestrians to the scars left on our parks and playing pitches, the dangers and difficulties presented by these noisy death traps are immense.

“I have been contacted by local elderly residents and young families who are almost afraid to set foot outside the door in case they are knocked down by scramblers taring past the front gate. Without helmets, safety gear or training, the riders of these machines are a menace and a threat.

“I have lost track of how many times I have seen a previously perfect playing pitch or patch of grass in a park torn up and left looking like crops were about to be planted by acts of wanton vandalism on these scramblers or quads.

“There is also clear evidence that the bikes are being used by some to transport drugs within our communities and I would like to see the Garda being empowered and able to be more proactive in tackling it through stop and seizure powers. Children are being drafted as drug couriers because while the Gardaí are able to stop a car, the law is far more murky on stopping a scrambler. That is just the type of thing we need to fix.

“When I was going through my notes preparing for this evening, I came across my speech on Misuse of Motor Vehicles (Public Spaces) Bill that my colleague Dessie Ellis TD had previously introduced.

“I spoke in the Dáil on that Bill in March of 2014. That is how long Sinn Féin have been trying to get this matter sorted. Seven years trying to get the Government of the day to take this seriously.

“It baffles me that something as simple as banning the use of quads and scramblers from public spaces has become a seven year saga that has suffered from a lack of support or interest from whatever government was in power.

“I want to commend my colleague Dessie Ellis TD for not letting the matter drop and for continuing to push to make our streets, parks, and other public spaces safer. I regret that the response from Government has always been about what cannot be done but not what can be done.

“I want to see an end to these vehicles being driven on our roads and in our parks and in a way that destroys pitches and green spaces. Our parks should be inclusive spaces, not places where people are excluded because of the reckless activities of others. That is the reality of what is happening in many communities.

“The RSA say that fully half of all accidents related to quads or scramblers involve riders under 18. I appeal to parents to recognise the danger that they are putting their children in by buying them these vehicles.

“Christmas is in three months time. It’s still far away, but people may be thinking about it already. If your child has nowhere to ride a scrambler or quad except the local park or down the street outside the house, please just don’t buy them one.”