Bike park 'needed' to prevent anti-social riders plaguing Sheffield estates

Motorcyclists have backed calls for an off-road bike park in Sheffield to get nuisance riders off the city's streets.

Tuesday, 20th February 2018, 9:24 am
Updated Tuesday, 20th February 2018, 2:45 pm
Andrew Richardson, co-founder of the Association of Peak Trail Riders (photo: Andrew Richardson)

Trail riders are legal drivers using tracks around the countryside on vehicles which are taxed, insured and road legal - unlike the young riders terrorising estates in Sheffield.

But Andrew Richardson, co-founder of the Association of Peak Trail Riders, fears the yobbish behaviour of those anti-social bikers is unfairly tarnishing the reputation of all motorcyclists.

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He believes a bike park in Sheffield could be the answer.

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Not only would this give young people somewhere to ride legally without disturbing members of the public, he claims, it would help police track down stolen vehicles and enable young bikers to learn from older ones how to ride responsibly.

"Although we're not responsible for these louts riding round cities on dirt bikes, we recognise their vehicles look a bit like ours, and it does want stopping," said Mr Richardson.

Members of the Association of Peak Trail Riders, who drive legally on recognised trails, are worried the actions of anti-social off-road bikers are tarnishing the reputation of all motorcyclists (photo: Association of Peak Trail Riders)

"I understand the council is considering creating some off-road biking areas, where it is safe and appropriate for young people to ride, and I think that is needed.

"It would be good if you have older riders there too, because they can teach the younger ones how to behave.

"It takes an older generation to teach the younger generation but as it stands the younger riders aren't getting taught anything, and the authorities aren't really helping the situation.

Quad bikers damaging green spaces in Gleadless Valley

"If the council wants to do something, we're quite willing to assist in any way we can."

Mr Richardson said police used to 'turn a blind eye' to young bikers using Parkwood Springs, before the Ski Village opened.

Having a dedicated biking location like this, he said, made it easier for police to check vehicles and to track down stolen bikes.

Members of the Association of Peak Trail Riders, who drive legally on recognised trails, are worried the actions of anti-social off-road bikers are tarnishing the reputation of all motorcyclists (photo: Association of Peak Trail Riders)

And he said petrol stations could play their role in stopping nuisance bikers, by not selling fuel to underage bikers and those in unregistered vehicles.

Although there are trails in the Peak District which motorcyclists can use legally, Mr Richardson says the amount available has dwindled from around six per cent of the total tracks to two per cent in recent years, as more and more are closed to bikers by Peak District National Park Authority.

He says the approach is already harming tourism and fears it could prove dangerous if frustrated motorcyclists end up riding where they are not permitted.