Off-road areas to reduce illegal bikes

Such facilities are central to the State Trail Bike Strategy, published in 2008 in an effort to combat illegal use.

It is taking a long time to implement as its aspects include registration, licensing, enforcement, education and maintenance and therefore involve at least five government departments.

A Department of Sport and Recreation spokeswoman said the new area at Flint, an hour east of Kelmscott, was possible now similar areas were complete at Pinjar and Gnangara.

Recreational Trailbike Riders’ Association of WA director Steve Pretzel said riders had used Flint unofficially for 20 years and studies showed it was uniquely suitable for the purpose, being outside dieback risk and water catchment areas.

He said his organisation won a grant two years ago to develop a pilot trail system there, to test design and construction techniques and monitor sustainability.

The pilot, combining old fire, logging and motorbike trails with tracks created using best practice design principles, opened last year.

‘It’s had good feedback from riders and the new trails have held up very well,’ he said.

‘If we can prove we can create areas that won’t go feral, we can look at creating something that families and teenagers can use.

‘The State Trail Bike Strategy took the view that if we want to move people away from areas causing problems we have to offer them a better experience elsewhere.’

He said the government must now commission a master plan for Flint.

‘It can be done in a matter of months if the will is there,’ he said.

When questioned by Collie-Preston MLA Mick Murray in August about why Back on Track had ‘slipped off the agenda,’ Sport and Recreation Minister Terry Waldron said his first focus had been improving riding areas.

He said his staff had recently visited Flint with Mr Pretzel and he hoped to make an announcement soon.

Staff were unable to confirm a decision last week.