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19th Oct 2022

Gardaí and RSA urge parents not to buy their children quads and scramblers for Christmas

Hugh Carr

quad scrambler christmas

“Members of An Garda Síochána do not want to be delivering devastating news this Christmas.”

Whether we want to acknowledge it or not, Christmas is only around the corner. Time for preparing the bank to take a hit on meals, drinks, and the all-important gifts for the kids. Two items parents are being asked to avoid, however, are quad bikes and scramblers.

The RSA, An Garda Síochána and a Consultant at the National Spinal Injuries Unit in the Mater Hospital are urging parents not to gift the vehicles this Christmas, due to the safety risk they pose to children.

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 RSA.

Figures show that between 2017 and 2021, 88 people were injured in collisions involving a quad bike or scrambler on a public road, with four fatalities involving quad bikes or scramblers on public roads.

“Quad bikes and scramblers are not toys, they are heavy, dangerous pieces of machinery that can cause life-changing injuries or death,” said Keith Synnott, Consultant at the National Spinal Injuries Unit in the Mater Hospital.

“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 breathe without the aid of a machine.

“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, described the misuse of such vehicles as 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,” Naughton added.

“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.”

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.”