“Antisocial” scrambler use prompts expansion of dangerous driving offence to off-road areas

Dangerous driving offence to be expanded to “all terrain”, including parks and greenways, to tackle “antisocial use of scramblers” as part of the long-awaited Road Traffic and Roads Act 2023.

As reported yesterday, the Road Traffic and Roads Act also includes defining e-bikes and regulating for e-scooters. The wide-ranging legislation has been signed into law by the President, but different sections will only come into full legal effect once administrative and other legal backing is signed off.

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The lack of power for Gardaí to fully enforce off-road use of the likes of scrambler motorcycles or quad bikes was claimed to be the reason why so many areas such as parks and cycle routes needed restrictive access controls.

These barriers, such as kissing gates, often block legitimate users using wheelchairs, larger prams, adapted cycles and cargo bikes.

Jack Chambers, Minister of State with special responsibility for road safety, said: “As Minister with special responsibility for road safety, I welcome the many aspects of the Road Traffic and Roads Act which will improve safety on Irish roads. The misuse of scramblers, quad bikes and similar vehicles has been a recurrent issue in our society and these measures will allow us to regulate their use in spaces such as public parks, beaches and other public land.”

He added: “An Garda Síochána will now be allowed to seize these vehicles when they are used in a manner that puts members of the public at risk.”

In a statement, the Department of Transport explained: “The offence of dangerous driving, currently an offence only in a ‘public place’, will become an offence on all terrain. This will make it possible to prosecute for dangerous driving wherever it takes place.”

The Department said that there will be new Garda powers to “seize and dispose of vehicles used dangerously, whether at the scene of an offence or at the location where the vehicle is kept.”

The statement added: “There will be a new Ministerial power to specify in regulations that certain types of vehicles, for example scramblers or quad bikes, are banned from certain areas. This will allow the flexibility needed to deal with this problem on an evolving basis.”

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