Gardaí to teach lesson on dangers of scramblers

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Sinn Fein TD Maurice Quinlivan. Pic. Emma Jervis/ Press 22
Sinn Fein TD Maurice Quinlivan. Pic. Emma Jervis/ Press 22

LIMERICK Gardaí are looking at using education to tackle the scourge of scramblers on roads and estates in the city.

Speaking at last Friday’s meeting of the Joint Policing Committee, Sinn Féin TD Maurice Quinlivan called for scramblers to be banned from city estates. He said they are a menace in local communities, posing a danger to the public and causing damage to property.

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“In many communities and estates across Limerick, quads, dirt bikes and scrambles are driven on public areas and parks, causing problems for local people, a danger to children, and resulting in intimidation for some residents,” he said.

“Unfortunately, the Gardaí are limited in how they can tackle this problem. The law as it stands prohibits the use of these scramblers on public roads unless fully insured and taxed. There is a loophole in the legislation which allows people to use these vehicles in public spaces for anti-social behaviour and avoid any penalties”.

“Many elderly people are living in fear in their own communities, as they don’t want to venture outside when these people are on scramblers. Many of these bikes are powerful, and incredibly dangerous,” he added.

The meeting was told that Gardaí in the Roxboro Road District have dealt with 16 incidents relating to scramblers so far in 2019. In one incident, a two-year-old was found travelling on the back of a scrambler with an older youth.

Fianna Fáil councillor Jerry O’Dea pointed out to Limerick Garda Division members that scramblers are causing terrible distress in many areas.

Superintendent Eamon O’Neill of Roxboro Road District explained that Gardaí are developing a “non-pursuit” strategy to deal with this problem in the city. Many scrambler users involved in antisocial behaviour, he claimed, are just “looking for a chase”. 

“Scramblers are the new toy in town. People may not realise the dangers of scramblers. We are looking at this from an enforcement and education perspective. Those riding them could endanger the public and endanger themselves” he told JPC members.

Supt O’Neill went on to explain that Gardaí would be looking at giving out information in schools and community centres to better educate children and make parents aware of the issues. 

“I saw a child of about eight to ten years of age driving one of these at 20/30 miles an hour with a four-year-old on the back. They stopped to get money off their mammy for sweets and were on their way again. We need to look at them for endangerment,” Solidarity councillor Paul Keller commented.