The Bill is a practical response to the terrorising of communities by the illegal use of scramblers, in particular. Just today I received further video footage from my constituency of scramblers being used in a dangerous manner in Springfield, however, that is not an isolated incident. There are examples from Kingswood, Kilnamanagh, Oldbawn, and Kiltipper, and that is only in my constituency. As Deputy Curran said, this issue is widespread across Dublin, northside and southside.
In 2017 alone, 62 people were injured in quad bike and scrambler accidents. While the gardaí do their best to police the use of these vehicles they currently exist in a legal lacuna. For the first time under this proposed legislation riding a quad bike or a scrambler bike in an antisocial and dangerous manner will be an offence under public order legislation. The Bill, which was designed following consultation with the key stakeholders, including members of the joint policing committees, to which Deputy Curran referred, will give garda the powers they need to seize bikes that are being ridden dangerously in all public areas, including parks and open spaces.
The Bill will also increase the penalties for supplying these bikes to underage youngsters. Deputy Curran noted how between 2014 and 2017, 39 people, most of them younger people, lost their lives.
The Bill will also direct the Minister to establish a national register for these vehicles to increase accountability of their owners. Too often scramblers and quad bikes are not registered to any owner making it very difficult for gardaí to enforce the laws surrounding them. Equally, the Bill will require the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport to introduce regulations allowing gardaí to remove these bikes from the curtilage of a house, which is critical. As Deputy Curran said, superintendents and chief superintendents in various divisions of the Dublin metropolitan region have issued instructions to their officers not to intercept or engage in speed chases of individuals on scramblers because of the danger that presents to the community. That was a weakness in previous legislative efforts by this side of the House to deal with the matter. Our proposal closes this gap by giving the gardaí powers to seize these vehicles from the curtilage of a house, which would include the garden, following information they would have obtained, whether documentary or photographic evidence, etc., of quad bikes and scramblers being used in an antisocial way.
We are delighted to move First Stage and look forward to engaging with other spokespersons from other parties in attempts to secure their support for what is much-needed legislation, particular for communities which are very badly affected by this.