Government still on trail of new laws

President Cameron Howard with committee member Brianna Ozies and member Caitlin Smith. Picture: Marcus Whisson www.communitypix.com.au d402015
President Cameron Howard with committee member Brianna Ozies and member Caitlin Smith. Picture: Marcus Whisson www.communitypix.com.au d402015

Sergeant Peter McGee from Canning Vale police recently highlighted concerns about Thornlie’s Walter Padbury Reserve, where he said a regular group of bikers was endangering children, damaging turf and causing escalating resident complaints.

He said police could charge those driving on roads without licences and seize bikes for subsequent offences, but could not chase riders who failed to stop so police could rarely identify them.

It is also an offence to ride trail bikes in parks and councils can impound vehicles, issue infringements or take prosecution action, but rangers are subject to the same limitations.

City of Gosnells chief executive Ian Cowie said some vehicles already had to be registered and rangers could deal with bikes being ridden in parks, but bikes on roads or footpaths were police territory.

Back on Track, the WA State Trail Bike Strategy overview published five years ago, recommended off-road vehicles be subject to mandatory registration.

The strategy includes governance, funding, facilities and education issues, meaning multiple departments are responsible.

Six months ago, a spokeswoman for then-Local Government Minister John Castrilli told the Comment News the Government was assessing legal implications of mandatory registration.

Last week, a Department of Transport spokeswoman said the State Trail Bike Strategy was ‘still under consideration’.

She said no other Australian jurisdiction had yet applied such a regime and the Government needed to be confident it was enforceable and would achieve its purpose.

A Department of Sport and Recreation spokeswoman said the Government had improved biking facilities at Pinjar and Gnangara.