‘We have the power to seize bikes being used illegally’

Calls have been made for a biking facility similar to the urban sports park, above, at Carrickfergus Amphitheatre (file photo)
Calls have been made for a biking facility similar to the urban sports park, above, at Carrickfergus Amphitheatre (file photo)

The PSNI has issued a warning after concerns were raised over the use of scrambler motorbikes in the Carrickfergus area.

It follows the tragic death of young mother-of-three Valerie Armstrong, who was hit by one of the vehicles as she walked her dog in Colin Glen Forest Park, Belfast, last Tuesday.

A statement posted on the PSNI Larne Facebook page read: “We are getting calls from concerned members of the public about the dangerous driving practices of scrambler and other off-road bike users in the Selby Road, Marshallstown Road and College Walk areas of Carrick.”

The tragedy in Dunmurry last week “underlines how dangerous these vehicles can be”, the post added. “Parents, please make sure your children are using these bikes legally and in a controlled environment – if they don’t, we have the power to seize them.

“We will be following up on reports and would encourage anyone with information about bikes being used dangerously and illegally to get in contact.”

Sergeant Brian Caskey added: “Quads, and some scramblers, do not comply with Construction and Use Regulations and Vehicle Safety Standards and therefore are restricted to ‘off-road’ use only.

“This does not mean that they can be driven anywhere off-road. These vehicles should only be driven on private land where the landowner has given permission and should not be driven on pavements, roads, public property or parks. Insurance and safety equipment must be complied with as well in order to drive these vehicles legally.”

The use of scramblers and quad bikes has also been reported in the area around the Woodburn reservoirs, according to Mid and East Antrim Councillor Andrew Wilson.

“Last week I was also surprised to be overtaken by a quad bike without the required licence plates on the A2 Shore Road dual carriageway at Greenisland on my way back into Carrickfergus,” added Cllr Wilson, a member of the MEA Policing and Community Safety Partnership.

“Similar to those who use cars on our roads, I would urge those who use scramblers in the local area to do so in a legal and responsible manner.”

Meanwhile, Mid and East Antrim Council has responded to calls from the local community to consider a purpose-built track for scramblers and other similar bikes.

Some social media users suggested a facility similar to the urban sports park, which opened at Carrickfergus Amphitheatre in 2012.

One Facebook post read: “The council need to build somewhere for the kids to play on their bikes.”

Another user stated: “They built a skate park so why not build a motorbike track.”

A spokesperson for the local government authority said: “MEA Council has no plans to provide designated areas for use of such motorbikes.”