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Sunday 20 October 2019

Scramblers are seized as gardai bid to end the carnage at Christmas

One of the 11 scrambler bikes seized on Christmas Day
One of the 11 scrambler bikes seized on Christmas Day

A garda clampdown on scramblers and quad bikes being used illegally in two Dublin suburbs resulted in five arrests and 11 bikes being taken from riders on Christmas morning.

A significant garda operation has been in place for a number of weeks in Finglas and Cabra to try to tackle the rising problem of bikes being ridden on roads and green spaces.

This problem of antisocial and dangerous behaviour increases at Christmas when youths get new bikes.

Illegal

Scramblers fitted with tyres for earth and clay riding are not suitable for roads, and many are not fitted with lights and are illegal on public roads.

The use of scramblers has also resulted in fatalities.

In 2015, Warren Kenny (16), from Cherry Orchard Avenue in Ballyfermot, died after the scrambler-type bike he was riding collided at speed with a similar vehicle shortly after 8am on Christmas morning near his home. The other rider, in his early 20s, suffered a broken arm.

Two years earlier, Leroy Coyle died on the Ballybough Road in the north inner city in a crash on Christmas Day.

The 19-year old, from O'Sullivan Avenue in Ballybough, lost control of his powerful off-road scrambler, crashing into a stationary car.

Dublin Coroner's Court later heard he was not wearing a helmet at the time.

In June this year, Armenian man Ilabek Avetian (39) suffered catastrophic head injuries when he was hit by a scrambler bike as he was sunbathing with his wife Anzhela Kotsinian in a public park in Darndale.

His skull was crushed and he lost an eye, with Ms Kotsinian suffering a broken pelvis.

She now keeps a vigil by her husband's hospital bed, where his future is uncertain due to his brain injuries.

Ms Kotsinian recently appealed to parents not to buy scramblers and quad bikes as presents for their children.

In the Christmas Day operation, gardai from a number of divisions seized the 11 motorbikes and two cars in Finglas and Cabra. Two of the bikes are now confirmed to have been reported as stolen.

Warned

"In the last number of years, there has been a significant problem on Christmas morning with illegally operated scrambler bikes, quads and mopeds on the roads in Cabra and Finglas in Dublin," said a garda spokesman.

"This year, a significant garda operation was put in place in order to tackle the problem.

"It began a number of weeks ago, with community policing members calling to schools and parents in order to warn of the dangers associated with this activity.

"Leaflets were produced and distributed in an attempt to dissuade parents from purchasing these vehicles and young people from using them."

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