School holidays are half way through and during this time I have seen an increase of miniature motorbikes being ridden through local parks and on footpaths and roads. Miniature motorbikes as a toy for youth has sparked many a debate on various Facebook crime watch pages with some people complaining of the dangers and noise and other folks arguing that at least the youth are outside and not getting into mischief.
As much as a strong advocate I am for youth and everyone for that matter turning off their screens and participating in sports and activities outdoors it is important to look at the legalities of riding miniature motorbikes.
Personally, I am not a fan of these motorbikes and that is solely due to the extremely irritating high-pitched motor which is for me a grating noise, much like a teacher’s nails on the blackboard. Our house backs onto property which is popular for young trespassers and their miniature motorbikes. On a Sunday afternoon you’ll find me hanging out the washing and moaning under my breath that once again an afternoon nap has been destroyed.
One Sunday afternoon not so long ago the sound of two motorbikes were cut short and screams for help replaced it. I jumped our back fence and raced to where a teenage boy stood over his unconscious friend who had badly injured his leg after coming off his bike. With no guardian around, the injured boy’s friend raced off on his mini motorbike to inform them of the accident. I watched him race off, observing that in his panic he narrowly missed being hit by a car. I called an ambulance and stood there hopelessly making pathetic and reassuring comments to the accident victim who has since regained consciousness.
I understand these boys were out having fun but the consequences could have been dire as either of them could have been seriously injured, particularly due to their lack of safety gear and poor choice of property to ride on. There is no personal injury claim if you make choices like this. The consequence of making poor decisions in the name of fun can lead to serious injury, and when you get onto a miniature motorbike and trespass onto private property where you have no idea of the lay of the land, you are putting yourself into a tedious situation.
What is more concerning is how miniature motorbikes that are being driven illegally are becoming a common sight on local roads and footpaths. Outside our Logan Personal Injury Law office, I’ve watch these bikes mount the foot path and race around the corner. It is with sole fortune that on these occasions there are no innocent pedestrian standing in the rider’s way. There seems to be an awful lot of bravado from young riders on their miniature motorbikes, one would say that they seem to believe that their miniature motorbike pose no risk to others due to the small size.
However it was only late 2015 when Andrea Lehane a nurse and mother was struck by a miniature motorbike on a pedestrian crossing outside a shopping centre in Melbourne. Her injuries were so horrific that two days after the accident she had her life support turned off and she consequently passed away. In May 2017, the culprit Caleb Jakobsson now 20 years of age was officially sentenced to 7 years in jail. The family of Andrea suffered an unnecessary and devastating loss due to the dangerous and illegal driving of a miniature motorbike. This bike ride had been initiated as a fun and cheap thrill by a teenager who wasn’t aiming on hurting anyone, instead now the young driver bares the responsibility, shame and consequences that his decision’s led to.
Riding a miniature motorbike is a choice. They are readily available. They are popular and relatively inexpensive. If you own one of these bikes or if you have purchased them for your children, then you should know the laws around where these bikes are legally allowed to be ridden.
The following list of bikes are determined by the Queensland State Government to be non-compliant for use on the road or road related areas such as foot paths. Under no circumstance can they be registered. So despite your view of miniature bike’s it is important to note that it is illegal for them to be ridden through local parks and on footpaths and roads.
It is not all doom and gloom if you own a miniature bike. You are entitled to drive it on your own private property or on a private property which you have sought permission to ride on. The Department of National Sports, Parks and Racing have also compiled a list of places where it is legal for people to ride motorbikes for recreational purposes. You can find more information on that here.
If the holidays are feeling long and you are struggling to entertain your youth with brilliant cheap or low-cost activities then a great place to source fun things to do is the youth programs organised by the Logan and Brisbane City Council. The broad range of activities they organise are excellent and they include such activities as music, rock climbing and art classes. They are not restricted to where your place of residence is so it is well worth researching both youth programs to see what sparks the interest of your child.
You can find information on ‘Chillout’ the Brisbane youth program here.
‘Krank’ is the Logan youth program you can find out more here.
So, happy last week of holidays. May they be safe and fun filled for your entire family.