MINI motorbikes and quad bikes are not toys and are not suitable for children.
That is the warning from the new head of the national garda traffic corps, Assistant Commissioner Michael Finn.
Asst Comm Finn has taken over the role this week, after previously serving as chief superintendent for Cork city.
Gardai and the Road Safety Authority have come together to highlight the dangers of mini-motorised vehicles for children. Under the Road Traffic Act, a person can be fined up to €3,000 or be imprisoned for six months for selling or supplying such a vehicle to someone under the age of 16 years.
Gardai say that a rider of such a vehicle in a public place must be over the age of 16 years, must wear a helmet, should hold a valid driving licence, hold third party insurance and have the appropriate motor tax certificate.
Asst Comm Finn said: “We cannot emphasise enough that these are not toys – they are powerful MPVs and in inexperienced hands or on unsuitable terrain they have the potential to severely or even fatally injure someone. That is why they are unsuitable for children. The last thing anyone wants is a tragedy, especially at Christmas, involving one of these motor vehicles. We also must emphasise to parents considering buying these for their children that all road traffic legal requirements must be complied with.” According to the Road Safety Authority, typical injuries associated with these vehicles include fractures and head injuries. Chief Executive of the Road Safety Authority, Moyagh Murdock, said; “under no circumstances should a child be riding these vehicles as they simply do not have the skills, the strength or the reaction speed to be able to handle motorised vehicles. We are urging parents and guardians not to buy these for their children to ensure their child does not get harmed this Christmas.” In 2014, an eight-year-old boy lost his life in a quad bike accident in Clare.
According to gardaí, 12 detections of dangerous driving involving quad bikes have been made across the country this year.