Illegal off-roading continues to be a major problem in the National Park and the stark safety message coincides with the launch of two new off-roading leaflets from The Treadlightly Trust who have been working with Brecon Beacons National Park Authority, Dyfed Powys Police, Powys County Council and Countryside Council for Wales to educate vehicle users about their rights and responsibilities regarding off-roading in the National Park and throughout Powys.
Sgt Kelvin Briggs from Dyfed Powys Police Authority said: “Motorcycles and quad bikes are always a popular choice for Christmas presents, and we want to make sure parents are aware of the dangers and problems that accompany these vehicles before they buy them as Christmas presents. Parents need to think safety first and make sure they inform their children where they can ride safely and legally. We understand that many parents and children may not be aware of the legal requirements associated with the use of motorcycles, but we are more than happy to offer appropriate advice.
“What we will stress to parents is that if they do buy these vehicles as gifts they should keep them in a secure, locked location. Not only will this keep them out-of-sight but it will also help lower insurance premiums. If you don’t have a secure location, you need to keep your vehicle out of view as much as possible, covering it with a tarpaulin or ground sheet.
“One of the easiest ways of stopping thefts of quad bikes is to remove the keys. In many cases people think ‘I will only be a minute’, but that is all that’s needed when a criminal has access to keys.”
Judith Harvey, Western Area Manager for Brecon Beacons National Park Authority said: “After the Christmas period we usually experience an increase in illegal activity on our protected landscapes and the wet weather makes our countryside even more fragile and susceptible to damage. Unfortunately, illegal off-roading causes more damage to the environment than any other activity in the National Park and we have areas of peat bog that have survived for thousands of years that now have permanent scars etched from off-roaders. We would urge people who have off-road vehicles or anyone who receives one for Christmas to use them responsibly. We would also recommend that people attend an approved training course like the ones offered by LANTRA so that they can use their vehicles safely and sensibly.
“That said, we are very pleased to be able to work closely with organisations like the Treadlightly Trust who continue to do so much good work in the National Park educating people about the issues of off-roading in the National Park. We hope that by working with these groups like The Treadlightly Trust we, along with our other partners can promote legal use and also deal effectively with the users who cause damage and distress to visitors and residents by using areas that they should not.”
Duncan Green, Chairman of The Treadlightly Trust said: “It is sensible for the first experience of quads and motor bikes to be at professionally run private sites where qualified staff can teach the safe use of motor vehicles. Our byways should only be used in a safe and sustainable manner to protect them not just for our children but our children’s children.”
Motorbikes, quad bikes, 4x4s and scramblers can only be ridden by over 16s with a licence, valid MOT, insurance and protective safety equipment. These vehicles can legally be ridden on public roads, byways open to all traffic and on private land with the owner’s permission. It is illegal to ride these vehicles on footpaths, bridleways and restricted byways, common land, National Park Authority owned land and any other land without the landowner’s consent.
Members of the public are urged to report any illegal off-road activity in the Park to the police on 101 or the National Park Authority on 0845 345 7275.
If you would like further advice regarding the legal requirements associated with the use of motorcycles and quad bikes or crime prevention advice, please contact your local Neighbourhood Management Team or Crime Prevention Officer on 101.