crackdown | 

Parents warned not to buy scramblers for Christmas as 258 bikes seized by gardaí

Calls to keep the bikes out of the hands of young people in public areas continue after a number of major accidents in recent months.

Seized scrambler bikes.

Maeve McTaggartSunday World

Almost 300 scramblers have been seized by gardaí in the space of two years, new figures have revealed.

Repeated accidents and warnings that the bikes “are not toys" have prompted calls for a crackdown on their usage – especially by children in the capital.

“The sound of scramblers on our streets and in our parks has become all too familiar,” said Clondalkin-born councillor Kenneth Egan.

"At best, they are intimidating and noisy and at worst, they can lead to serious injuries or fatalities. I would certainly be calling on parents to think twice before buying their child a scrambler or anything similar this Christmas.”

It follows warnings by the Road Safety Authority to not give the bikes as Christmas gifts.

"Quad bikes and scramblers are not toys,” said Keith Synott of the RSA.

"They are heavy, dangerous pieces of machinery that can cause life changing injuries or death. Following a collision on these machines, riders risk serious spinal injury.

"This could result in paralysis, which can mean being unable to walk or perhaps use your hands to feed yourself and loss of bowel or bladder control. Sometimes, even the inability to breath without the aid of a machine.”

38% of those injured in quad bike or scrambler accidents between 2017 and 2021 were under the age of 18, stark statistics from the RSA show.

Fine Gael TD Emer Higgins has also slammed the use of the bikes for their links with antisocial behaviour in local neighbourhoods, especially in Dublin city.

"The antisocial behaviour often associated with scrambler use can be very intimidating for communities, which is why I welcome that a large number of scramblers have been seized since the Gardaí were given enhanced seizure powers last year,” Ms Higgins said.

She revealed the figures on scrambler seizures were released to her by the Gardaí and show a huge amount centred in the capital.

“A recent parliamentary question revealed to me that 258 scramblers have been seized nationally," she said, “with 178 seized last year, and 80 seized this year so far.”

“In terms of the Dublin picture, 99 scramblers were seized in the capital last year and 44 have been seized so far this year, which I hope leads to not only less scramblers on our roads and less anti-social behaviour, but also less fatal or serious accidents.

“Previously we have seen that the misuse of scramblers was extremely challenging for the Gardaí to police.”

In April, a mother watched in shock as her toddler was hit with a scrambler in Tallaght.

Sarah Lewis told that her two-year-old daughter Holly was lucky to be alive after the bike struck her and left her with a broken shoulder

One of the teens fell off the scrambler but jumped back on and the pair sped away, she said.

"One of the lads fell off the back of the bike. I was just screaming at them to get the bike off Holly. As she lay there completely motionless for a minute, he hopped back on the scrambler and the two of them sped off.

"They never looked back, they never said, sorry it was an accident, is she OK? Nothing. They just drove off.”

The mum said it’s only a matter of time before another child or person is killed and said scramblers should be banned from use in public areas.

"I knew to look at them that these lads hadn't a clue how to handle that bike and they weren't even wearing helmets,” she said,

"They shouldn't have been driving it, especially in a public park where there are loads of children and elderly people.”

In 2018, Ilabek Avetian was sunbathing in Darndale Park with his wife when he was hit by an off-road bike.

The victim lost an eye and suffered a brain injury and is still in rehabilitation because of the incident.

His wife, Anzhela, recently welcomed new measures to make it an offence to drive scramblers or quads in parks, green spaces, on beaches or wasteland.

Anzhela said parents “will think more seriously about buying scramblers as presents for young people. And the community initiatives will help young people to have other interests.

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