Garda Commissioner Drew Harris has released a letter from ‘Santa’ urging parents not to buy quad bikes or scramblers for their children this Christmas.
The letter was released to discourage children from looking for these all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), after a spate of Christmastime accidents caused by the vehicles in the last number of years.
“Some children have asked for quad bikes or scramblers,” the letter read.
“I’m very worried. I’ve seen how many young people are injured each year in quad bike accidents. Please pass on this safety message: Quad bikes are not suitable gifts for children unless they are used with safety equipment and in a safe place, not a public road.
“They cannot be used in public parks unless there is a designated area. I can’t bear to see any more hurt children or sad parents.”
The Garda plea comes after Leroy Coyle (19) died on the Ballybough Road in a scrambler crash on Christmas Day in 2013. On the same day two years later, Warren Kenny (16) also died when his new scrambler was involved in a crash in Cherry Orchard.
Last January a video of cars having to swerve on a busy Dublin road to avoid a quad bike and a scrambler, as well as a motorbike, went viral and this, along with a number of reported incidents prompted the South Dublin County Council to issue a warning about not using appropriate safety equipment when driving the ATVs.
In a statement earlier in the year, Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan responded to a parliamentary question Fine Gael TD Noel Rock, saying that he would work the Gardaí to clamp down on the misuse of these ATVs.
“I am very concerned, in relation to the serious public-safety issues associated with the misuse of scramblers and quad bikes,” he said.
“A multi-agency approach is required to tackle this anti-social issue effectively. Despite the existing road traffic and other relevant legislation available in this area, the Garda authorities have indicated that there are issues of safety involved in enforcement of these laws, which are best-addressed through a multi-agency approach.
“I am informed that Gardaí are working with local authorities, including park authorities, to examine other solutions, such as engineering solutions. Enhanced fencing and bike gates are examples of engineering measures taken to restrict access to parks.”
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