Sinn Féin TD for Dublin South West Seán Crowe has welcomed new legislation to tackle the unsafe use of quad and scrambler bikes in community spaces, but asked that local gardaí are given assurances as to how this new law will work in practice.

Teachta Crowe also asked parents to consider how suitable quads or scramblers are as a Christmas present and where it is their child will ride these vehicles.

Speaking in the Dáil last night, Teachta Crowe said:

“If the Minister were to travel to parts of my constituency – and he can go out there now if he wants – he would hear the buzzing noise of scrambler and quad bikes. This goes on from early in the morning to late at night. These bikes are used on main roads and green spaces, without the least bit of regard for pedestrians or other road users. Users do not wear helmets or high-visibility clothing. They tear up and down the streets on dark evenings. There are near misses every day involving children or elderly people out with prams.

“Last week, the Tallaght Drug and Alcohol Task Force published a comprehensive report on the effects of crack cocaine in the area. The Minister probably saw it reported in the media. Even in that report, the bikes feature. According to the report, there is clear evidence that the bikes are being used to transport drugs and dealers are patrolling neighbourhoods on scrambler bikes as a way of staking out their territory and intimidating the entire community through their visibility and engine noise.

“I would like to think that the new Garda powers to stop and seize vehicles will enable them to be much more proactive in tackling these issues. It is a welcome move that will give them more powers to safeguard our streets, parks, and green spaces. However, my worry is that the reluctance previously displayed by the Garda will continue. Members of the Garda are worried that they will end up in front of GSOC or in court. Therefore, there needs to be balance in this issue. We need assurances from the Minister that whatever legislation is passed in this House, there will be follow-up on it. We must ensure that we are not just going through the motions.

“Half the accidents involving quad bikes or scramblers involve children under the age of 18. Christmas is approaching, and we should all appeal to parents not to buy these vehicles. They are not toys. I ask parents not to buy them. If the only space available to drive a scrambler on is the local GAA pitch or a green space, then it is not safe or appropriate, and people should not do so.”