Police team suggests public campaign for off-road biking track in South Yorkshire

A police team in South Yorkshire has suggested that a public campaign is launched for a new off-road bike track in the county.

By Claire Lewis
Monday, 6th January 2020, 8:31 am
Updated Monday, 6th January 2020, 3:37 pm

Responding to repeated online criticism about police officers targeting off-road bikers, South Yorkshire Police’s off-road bike team has suggested that members of the public who want somewhere legal to rid their bikes could petition local councils for an area of land.

The team has also suggested crowdfunding as a way of funding the track.

In a Facebook post, a member of the off-road bike team, who is not named, said: “South Yorkshire Police sadly will not be able to purchase land, build a track and staff it.

South Yorkshire Police's off-road bike team

“As much as I would like to get paid to do that, the reality is, it's not going to happen. Although I would find it amusing to think there would be a bobby on each corner marshalling in one of our daft hats.

“The provision for land can only come from two places they are the council and private investors.”

The team member added: “I have had several meetings with councils and the following points were raised – the council would be liable for any person injured or otherwise on land provided by them, which they do not wish to take on; if land is provided by them who staffs it and marshalls it and continues with its upkeep?

“This does not solve the problem of people riding illegally to and from a venue. So that leaves private investors who have to work hand in hand with the council for planning permission.

“To own land and run it as a track for any discipline is not cheap and there are a lot of hoops to jump through to get it approved.

“With this in mind I can only suggest that the good people of South Yorkshire as a whole use the power of social media to maybe petition their local councils for land and crowd fund between yourselves to invest in it.

“This is not an official police statement but I am sure the team would be happy to foster any talent, if a scheme was set up."

The team member added: “In fairness, Doncaster is fairly lucky as it does have a number of facilities locally. So the argument that there are not places in Doncaster is a little flawed.

“We may be come across one or lad and dad's or daughters a month. The usual outcome is words of advice and a warning. The mainstay of our client base are older teenagers or adults. The adults really have no excuse. If you own a bike quad, use it responsibly.

“Kids and teenagers alike, the responsibility really lies with the parents. If your kids want to ride and you want to foster that talent then join a club and do it properly. If you are looking at bringing a kid on so they can race, a park is not going to give them the experience they need past basic skills.

“When I was a kid I wanted it didn't have that much talent, but every weekend we were in the van and off to the track.”