An Garda Síochána and the Road Safety Authority (RSA) have launched a new public awareness campaign to highlight the dangers quad bikes and scramblers pose to children and to urge parents not to gift them this Christmas.
ix people died in Ireland between 2014 and 2019 due to accidents involving a quad bike or scrambler and three of those were under the age of 18.
The casualty figures also show that 60 people were injured in collisions involving a quad bike or scrambler on a public road between 2014 and 2019. Of those killed or injured, 41pc of casualties were 18 years of age or under.
"The use of scramblers and quads by children poses a serious safety hazard. These are powerful machines, which have the potential to severely or even fatally injure someone. That is why they are not suitable to be used by children or inexperienced riders.
“Parents considering buying quad bikes or scramblers for their children this Christmas need to be aware that when used on a public road they are subject to the same rules as other mechanically propelled vehicles. They are required to be registered, taxed and in good road-worthy condition. The driver of the vehicle must hold the appropriate driving licence and be insured to drive the vehicle.
"Members of An Garda Síochána do not want to be delivering devastating news to another family this Christmas so our message is clear; children and young teenagers should not be driving these vehicles in public, or without the necessary licence, insurance, safety equipment and supervision,” Assistant Commissioner Paula Hillman, National Roads Policing and Community Engagement Bureau, An Garda Síochána said.
The Gardaí also emphasised it is an offence for these vehicles to be used in public places such as parks and public areas.
“This illegal and anti-social use of scramblers and quads causes fear and intimidation in our communities. Gardaí will have a visible presence and will be enforcing the Public Order Act and the Road Traffic Act,” Garda Hillman continued.
Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Hildegarde Naughton, said: "The misuse of scramblers and quad-bikes is a public safety issue across Ireland. We see in newspaper headlines regularly, the devastating impact this can have on families and the wider community. The repercussions of anti-social behaviour arising from the use of these vehicles can be very serious resulting in injuries and fatalities.”
Ms. Liz O’Donnell, RSA Chairperson, said: "Every Christmas, quad bikes and scramblers are given as presents, sometimes to very young children, so it’s important people are informed of the risks. In the hands of inexperienced and often unsupervised children in public places, they are a serious danger. If you’re planning to gift a quad bike or scrambler this Christmas, please reconsider. If it’s the thought that counts, please think again.”