Off-road Bikes – Safety advice for all

In 2016 in the UK there were over 300 fatalities and over 5,500 people seriously injured from motorcycle related incidents.

Around 30% of non-fatal motorcycle casualties were young people aged up to 25 years old riding motorcycles with on smaller engine motorcycles (up to 125 cc).

There has been an increased public concern regarding anti-social behaviour around the use of scrambler and motor bikes.

Anyone with information on who is using these bikes and where they are being stored is urged to call 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

A quick guide to the law around what is legal and what is not when it comes to off-road bikes can be found on the gov.uk website at www.gov.uk/department-for-transport

Safer Roads Targeting Team at Greater Manchester Police

A specialist policing team has been set up to tackle issues with off-road bikes across Greater Manchester.

The Safer Roads Targeting Team at Greater Manchester Police is on hand for community officers if off-road bikes are being used illegally in their area, equipped with a fleet of on and off-road bikes and unmarked cars to help catch offenders.

GMP has also launched a community toolkit to give people information on how they can help police and other agencies tackle this issue. The toolkit has details on what information police and their partners need to take action against those who ride off-road bikes illegally.

Greater Manchester Police currently works with local authorities and residents to tackle the problem of off–road bikes being used illegally. Measures include putting up warning signs, seeking civil orders to stop people committing offences or, if the problem is persistent, ultimately seizing a bike that is used illegally, taking it off the streets for good.

Responsibilities of parents and carers

Advice from Manchester City Council on off-road bikes in Manchester can be found on their website at www.manchester.gov.uk

There are no places to legally ride off-road vehicles within Manchester.

However, there are organisations that you can join across the north west that provide information on specially staged events and practice grounds where off-road bikes and quad bikes can be ridden legally.

  • Visit the Amateur Motorcycle Association website at www.amca.uk.com  for more information .

Some mini motorbikes and quad bikes are very powerful and capable of travelling in excess of 40 mph; some can reach 60 mph. Many of the mini motorbikes are marketed as toys but machines with electric or petrol motors are classed as motor vehicles:

  • if your child rides an off-road bike on a road or on public land they will require motor insurance
  • you are responsible for their actions and could be prosecuted if they ride on a road or in a public place which could also affect your own car or motorbike insurance.

If your child is under 16 years of age the only legal place to ride a mini motorbike, or a similar vehicle, is off-road on private land and you must have the permission of the owner of the land.

If your child is over 16 years of age they can ride a mini motorbike, or similar off-road vehicle, on private land with the permission of the owner of the land.

If they ride on a public highway:

  • the rider must be fully insured
  • the rider must have the correct driving licence for the bike and wear fully protective clothing and an approved protective helmet
  • the mini motorbike, or similar, must be registered with the DVLA, be fully taxed and have a current MOT certificate
  • the mini motorbike, or similar, needs to have an official number plate, brake lights and indicators and if it is being ridden at night it will need to have full working lights fitted.

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