'Just say no if your kids ask for a scrambler', TDs tell parents
"Just say no" is the message from TDs urging parents not to buy scrambler bikes for children this Christmas.
Dublin North-West TD Dessie Ellis tried in 2012 and again in September to introduce legislation to clamp down on the use of the dirt bikes in parks and public spaces but his plans have been rejected by opposing parties.
The Sinn Fein TD said the issue, highlighted by the severity of the injuries suffered by Ilabek Avetian (39) in June, had become party political when it should be about keeping the public safe.
"Parents in no circumstances should buy scramblers or quads for their kids. Just say no," Mr Ellis said.
"Kids don't know the basic rules of the road. They haven't been trained how to drive the bikes.
"If your child wants a vehicle, let them pass their test and drive on the road legally at 18."
Gardai are currently unable to stop the dangerous use of the bikes driven off-road as there is no specific law.
"One of the problems is the law isn't robust enough. People driving through parks, that's not defined under the Road Traffic Act," said Mr Ellis.
"Fianna Fail and Fine Gael blocked my attempt to change this legislation, saying it wasn't suitable, that the advice of the Attorney General was being gained.
"All they were doing was making excuses. Once they saw this legislation coming from Sinn Fein they basically weren't happy. This is about party politics."
Fianna Fail Dublin Mid-West TD John Curran has also appealed to parents not to buy dirt bikes for children.
"We have had serious accidents and injuries," he said.
Asked why Fianna Fail had not supported Sinn Fein's calls, Mr Curran said the Bill "wasn't effective".
Mr Curran said the key to legislation was making sure the bikes were seized.
A Department of Justice spokesman said supplying motorbikes to teenagers under 16 and 17 was an offence.
"Legal advice was received by Justice and Equality officials recently and is being considered."