Riding on public footpaths is illegal, without helmets is illegal, on fields without permission is illegal, and if the rider has no insurance that's also illegal. If confiscated for all those illegalities the bikes can be crushed, and some certainly have been over the years, I wouldn't want to see that sort of financial loss for any local family. We need to form a group that will reach out to these young people, to educate and train them properly.
What can be done about motorbikes riding on footpaths and bridleways?
The Institute of Public Rights of Way and Access Management: This is a criminal offence if done without lawful authority, which may be the landowner's permission, and even with permission it can still be an offence if motorbikes are ridden inconsiderately or cause damage. The legislation is enforceable by the Police as for other road traffic offences. It is sometimes possible to provide physical barriers that will prevent users of motorbikes gaining access to footpaths, but this is usually less effective on other routes. Ultimately, the Police have powers to confiscate motorbikes and prosecute riders where an offence has been committed.
Is there a solution?
I see the issue as age related, late teens, bit of money in their pockets, and they find they enjoy doing something that is fun. Maybe they move on to proper motorbikes and learn to act responsibly. A few years back PC Darren Bambury was running a great club for young riders to learn bike skills. I think we really could do with something like that again. That of course depended on Darren's sense of responsibility and his joy of motorbiking. A way forward might be for responsible bikers in our neighbourhood to step forward to run a bike club to teach responsible riding, the law, mechanics and so on.
I could speak to the Town Council about using a community worker to help to set one up and possibly allocate some funding for it, but this would need people with the right skill set from our neighbourhood to agree to get involved. If anyone is up for that, please make yourself known to me.
Learn More About the Law and Requirements for Riders
Update 22/2/2015 I had a walk around Blue Waters Woodland this morning. I see from the CBC website that cycling and horse-riding are not permitted (though goodness only knows how that is stopped!) Doesn't say anything about unhelmeted youths on pop-pop bikes, though, of which I saw three riding around churning up the pathways.
It's quite muddy at this time of year, anyway, so boots are required. You can imagine how the corners are being churned up. When it dries out a bit, it's going to take a lot of effort to rake the surfaces back to flat, assuming that the pop-pops don't continue and make it too expensive to restore.
The website also says of the site: "Friends / volunteers – None, but aspirational"
Therein lies the answer. It's the local people there that need to decide if they want a nice place to walk and watch butterflies , or to let it be taken over by youths looking for a bit of fun.
From the CBC website:
Blue Waters and Plaiter's Way
"Recent works have created surfaced paths around and between these 2 small sites. A natural play area has been created for children to enjoy. A great to spot butterflies on a sunny day. Perfect for a short stroll or a picnic.
Nearest Postcode - LU5 6 LU5 6RJ
Car park - None
Walking - Open access and public footpaths
Dogs - Welcome but must be kept under control
Cycling - Sorry not permitted
Horse riding - Sorry not permitted
Access Information - Entrances are accessible to manual wheelchairs / buggies, surfaced paths. Circular paths/routes.
Picnic - Seating on site, but not specific picnic benches
Toilets - None
Cafe - None
Friends / volunteers – None, but aspirational"
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