Illegal Scramblers & Quads – A Plague on Our Streets

If you live in an urban working-class area like ours, whether it be in Belfast, Derry, Dublin, Cork or Galway, there is every chance, especially with the good weather, that you are facing the daily hazard of underage scrambler or quad drivers speeding through our residential areas.  Many of these neo-death-drivers, often carrying pillion passengers, go without helmets or even the most basic of protective clothing.   Speed limits or one way streets in our built up areas mean nothing to these anti-social elements. During the school holidays our streets are often highly populated with younger children playing on the pavements outside their homes.   It is only a matter of time , until tragedy in the form of serious injury or even worse is visited upon our children.

Parents

Parents who buy their young children these scrambler motorbikes or quads in the full knowledge that they are being used dangerously in urban settings are every bit as guilty, if not more so, than the kids who use them. Recently, a scrambler driver and pillion passenger, neither wearing  a crash helmet  passed our car travelling well in excess of 30mph!  A potential head-on collision with an unsuspecting vehicle would have seen  these young  thrill seekers facing the almost certainly fatal prospect of an accumulated 60mph collision!

Stolen Motorcycles and Quads

The use of stolen off-road vehicles of this nature has also become a significant problem in West Belfast, and no doubt elsewhere in Ireland.  When discussing the issue with a highly respected West Belfast Community worker of many years experience, it was unsettling to hear of cases where not only do some parents turn a blind eye to their teenage children’s use of stolen scrambler motorcycles but actively help them hide the stolen vehicles!  One would be easily forgiven for believing that these particular parents are much more to blame than their children.

Solutions?

Obviously targeted community education has an important role to play in significantly reducing this potentially fatal behaviour.  The urban users of these off-road vehicles are quick to point to the distinct lack of nearby suitable facilities and their grievances must be listened to.  However, in the short term, if we are to prevent the almost certain tragedy occurring in our community that this risk taking behaviour will inevitably lead to, the answer lies within the community, but ultimately the responsibility lies with the parents of these young children, who are obviously at best turning a blind eye to their children’s behaviour and in many cases enabling it.

Alex McGuigan

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: