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Parents urged not to gift quad bikes or scramblers as presents for children this Christmas

Motorcycle safety 19.10.2022
  • 38%* of those injured in incidents involving quad bikes or scramblers were aged 18 or under (2017-2021)
  • Road Safety Authority and An Garda Síochána renew public safety messaging

38%* of those injured in incidents involving quad bikes or scramblers, in the period 2017 to 2021, were aged 18 or under, according to provisional statistics released by the Road Safety Authority (RSA).

The RSA, An Garda Síochána and Mr Keith Synnott, Consultant at the National Spinal Injuries Unit in the Mater Hospital, have renewed their public safety message that quad bikes and scramblers pose a safety risk to children and are urging parents not to gift them this Christmas.

Casualty figures show that between 2017 and 2021, 88* people were injured in collisions involving a quadbike or scrambler on a public road. In the same period there were four* fatalities involving quad bikes or scramblers on public roads.

Mr Keith Synnott, Consultant at the National Spinal Injuries Unit in the Mater Hospital, who is the voice of an RSA / Garda radio campaign on the topic said: “Quad bikes and scramblers are not toys, they are heavy, dangerous pieces of machinery that can cause life changing injuries or death. Following a collision on these machines, riders risk serious spinal injury. This could result in paralysis, which can mean being unable to walk or perhaps use your hands to feed yourself and loss of bowel or bladder control. Sometimes, even the inability to breath without the aid of a machine.”

Mr Synnott added that: “Impacts often happen on areas of uneven ground or as a result of unstable vehicles, especially in the hands of children, leading to people falling and landing awkwardly or the vehicle landing on the rider. The dangers these machines pose means that they are not suitable gifts for children.”

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Hildegarde Naughton, said: “The misuse of scramblers and quad bikes is an ongoing public safety issue across Ireland.

In line with a commitment in the Programme for Government, the Road Traffic and Roads Bill 2021 contains several measures to deal with the anti-social use of scramblers, quad bikes, and other machines.  The Bill, which is currently before the Seanad, will allow prosecution for dangerous driving on all terrain rather than just a public place, will allow regulations to be made prohibiting certain classes of vehicles from certain classes of places, and creates new Garda powers of seizure of the vehicles, including at the place where they are kept.

Mr. Sam Waide, CEO RSA, said: “It is important that parents and members of the public are aware of the risks associated with quadbikes and scramblers. They are intended to be driven by people in a supervised and controlled environment who understand the threat when driven on uneven ground. I would also add that it is currently an offence to use E-scooters on the public road and they are high risk in the hands of children. If you are planning on purchasing a quad bike, scrambler, or e-scooter for a child this Christmas, we are urging you to reconsider and give safer gifts.”

Assistant Commissioner Paula Hilman, National Roads Policing & Community Engagement, said “Members of An Garda Síochána do not want to be delivering devastating news this Christmas so our message is clear; children and young teenagers should not be driving these vehicles in public.

Illegal and anti-social use of scramblers and quads causes fear and intimidation in our communities. Local Gardaí will continue to work with communities and local partners to engage and address this illegal activity and enforce the applicable legalisation. I would also remind anyone considering buying a quad or scrambler that it is an offence to supply a mechanically propelled vehicle to a person under 16 years of age, this includes a gift or a loan.”

Table 1, Casualties injured in collisions involving a quad bike and/or scrambler bike, 2017-2021*
YearNumber of casualties

*Figures are provisional and subject to change.

The provisional findings published today examine fatal and injury collisions that occurred from 2017 to 2021. These collisions occurred on public roads, were reported to An Garda Síochána and involved a vehicle specified as being a quad bike or scrambler.