Myself and my colleague Neasa Hourigan (Green Party rep in Cabra-Glasnevin) have been highlighting the dangers caused by recklessly driven scrambler bikes. It has become a significant issue in Dublin 7 and Dublin 15, with the Royal Canal Towpath, Tolka Valley Park, Pelletstown, Clonsilla and Blakestown all impacted.
Over the summer, the Green Party raised the issue with the Minister for Transport in the Dail, who had stated at the time that “no deficiencies have been identified in road traffic legislation regarding the use of such vehicles in a public place”!! We were pretty surprised to see this response, as from our engagement with Community Gardaí and with Council officials in both Fingal and Dublin City, it is clear that the current laws do not give the Gardaí the appropriate powers, particularly if the scramblers are being driven by someone under the age of 16.
Reports in the papers today suggest that the Minister for Justice is now consulting with the Attorney General about what changes need to be made to legislation to deal with this problem. Finally, we are seeing some progress.
A key weakness for the Gardaí is that their power to enter private property and seize scramblers that they know are being driven dangerously is very limited. One option is to amend or mirror Section 41 of the Road Traffic Act 1994, to give Gardaí some seizure powers on private property.
Public open spaces like the Royal Canal towpath and the Tolka Valley Park, and residential areas like Pelletstown and Clonsilla, are being badly impacted by the dangerous use of scramblers. There is absolutely no issue when scramblers are used safely, but a number of recent serious incidents and many more near misses show that the Government needs to act and amend the law in this area.