herald

Friday 20 September 2019

Fianna Fail Bill on scrambler bikes 'would create confusion'

Minister Shane Ross
Minister Shane Ross

The Government is opposing an Opposition law aimed at cracking down on scrambler bikes, arguing that the proposed Bill would create "confusion".

The Dail will today debate a Fianna Fail proposal to give gardai the power to confiscate and destroy dirt bikes where riders have engaged in reckless behaviour.

Parents who buy scramblers for their under-age children would face fines of up to €5,000 under the Bill.

The law put forward by Fianna Fail Dublin TDs John Lahart and John Curran would see Transport Minister Shane Ross tasked with establishing a vehicle register for scramblers.

However, the Government last night said that Mr Ross would be opposing the proposed laws.

A statement said that Mr Ross, while accepting the unlawful use of scramblers was a "significant issue", did not believe the Bill would have any positive impact.

It said gardai already had the powers set out in the proposed law and replicating them "would add nothing" but might create "legislative confusion".

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It said that mechanically propelled vehicles (MPVs) used in public places must already be registered and scramblers fall into this category. The statement also said gardai already had powers to detain MPVs if they were untaxed, uninsured, or where there was reason to believe the driver or rider was too young.

It added that "gardai are of the view that there are sufficient measures present in current legislation. The difficulty is one of enforcement rather than legislation".

Mr Lahart said Fianna Fail would press ahead with the Bill and would be seeking the support of other parties in the Dail.

He said gardai could not enforce the current law as it requires the pursuit and interception of scrambler riders. Mr Lahart said senior gardai had told his party they were reluctant to do this because of the risk to public safety.

He said the Bill would see gardai gather evidence of reckless behaviour with scramblers and allow them to destroy the vehicles after they were later seized at the owner's address.

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