Proposed law will give gardai power to seize scramblers

by Padraig Conlon
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Laws giving the gardai power to seize quads and scramblers being ridden dangerously and terrorising communities are being considered.

Dublin South West TD John Lahart, Fianna Fail’s spokesman on Dublin, said a bill introduced by his party in the Dail last Wednesday (3rd) would address the growing illegal and antisocial use of such bikes.

“The dangerous and illegal use of these bikes is a widespread problem across Dublin and other parts of the country,” Deputy Lahart said.

“As they have grown in trend among young people, the fear and havoc scramblers inflict on residential communities has reached crisis point in many areas.

“Existing road traffic legislation does not apply to green spaces, housing estates or public parks, which are the very places where these vehicles are most commonly used and causing hassle.

“Even when gardai do receive complaints, the users of these vehicles simply speed off-road to prevent gardai from taking any action.

“There have already been a number of very serious collisions involving quads and scramblers in public space in Dublin causing life-changing injuries. There have been a number of efforts to introduce legislation in this area, but none to date have tackled the core issues.

“In Fianna Fail we hope to change that before anyone else is killed by this activity.”

John Curran, Dublin Mid-West TD and Fianna Fail spokesperson on urban affairs, said the use of quad bikes and scramblers was not just a nuisance but was terrorising many communities.

“75% of people that were killed by a scrambler or quad bike between 2014 and 2017 were children and the fact is that in very many cases these vehicles are purchased by someone else and gifted to an underage child,” Deputy Curran said.

“We are looking to include a heavy penalty for those purchasing vehicles for a young person who uses them recklessly.

“Our bill makes provision for increasing the maximum fine to €5,000 and to subsequently allow gardai to seize and destroy a vehicle that has been supplied under these conditions.”

The illegal use of quad bikes and scramblers came up as an issue “time and time again” in various joint policing committees, Deputy Curran added.

“This is the dilemma: road traffic legislation is not proving effective and is not allowing gardai to intercede and apprehend offenders.”

This first stage of the Fianna Fail bill was unopposed by the government, which last year opposed a similar private members bill from Sinn Fein.

According to official figures 39 people have been killed in collisions involving quad bikes and scramblers between 2014 and 2017. 27 children of these were children.

Last year a Lithuanian man, Ilabek Avetian, was left in a vegetative state after he was hit by a quad while sunbathing with his wife in Darndale Park.

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