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    13 October, 2006

    Scrambler Bikes

    The Rhondda's MP, Chris Bryant, had a debate this week on the illegal riding of scrambler bikes, which is one of the issues that regularly gets raised with us.

    Chris set out the problem:

    In theory, those bikes are only to be used on private land. In practice, they are driven over public land, bridleways and paths, private land without permission and, notably, on the road. Often, they are unsafe vehicles with poor tread and unreliable brakes because they do not have to go through an MOT. Often, they are driven by children—not only under the legal age, but sometimes as young as eight, nine, 10 and 11. Often, they are driven recklessly and dangerously, and as they are often driven by children, it is difficult to expect more. Often, they ruin areas of natural beauty, digging up beautiful areas of the countryside. Often, they are fitted with so-called silencers, which actually make the vehicles louder rather than quieter—something that the industry must work on. In every instance, by definition, they are not insured, so when there is an accident, the innocent party often not only has the problem of the crash, but has to face increased insurance premiums later in the year.

    For people in the Rhondda, that means a deafening racket reverberating around the valleys nearly every evening and every weekend. It means that pavements and roads—especially, for some bizarre reason in cul-de-sacs—become virtual race tracks.

    He is calling for all such bikes to be licensed:

    The main problem is that the police cannot identify the bikes because they do not have licence plates. That is why I believe that we should license all bikes, regardless of whether they are designed to be driven on the road. The relevant legislation is section 1(1) of the Vehicle Excise and Registration Act 1994, which says:

    “A duty of excise...shall be charged in respect of every mechanically propelled vehicle which is used, or kept, on a public road in the United Kingdom and shall be paid on a licence to be taken out by the person keeping the vehicle.”

    The provision should be amended so that it covers not just on-road vehicles, but all off-road vehicles.

    Who supports the proposal? The British Motorcyclists’ Federation does, with its 130,000 members, as does the Trail Riders Fellowship.

    You can read his full speech on his website. I agree with Chris's proposal.

    Rhondda TV
    The Labour Party

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    Promoted by Leighton Andrews AM, National Assembly for Wales, Cardiff CF99 1NA.

    Author's editorial policy: This blog does not publish anonymous comments, unless they are really witty and I like them. If you have something to say, then have the courage of your convictions and use your name or an identifiable alias. Even then I reserve the right not to publish comments that are malicious, defamatory, stupid, pointlessly cynical or boring. Any of the statements or comments made above should be regarded as personal and not necessarily those of the National Assembly for Wales, any constituent part or connected body.