Trail bike crackdown rejected

THE Tasmanian Motorcycle Council has rejected Liberal Party plans to crack down on illegal trail bike users.

The Liberals yesterday signalled they would increase penalties and strengthen enforcement powers to deal with breaches of noise issues, licensing and registration of trail bike users and illegal off-track riding.

Tasmania Police has reported a rise in the number of complaints about dirt bikes being ridden recklessly through the suburbs in the past 12 months.

"You wouldn't believe how many people say to us in suburban Tasmania that one of the biggest issues they have is young people riding trail bikes on suburban roads or in parks," Opposition Leader Will Hodgman said.

Liberal police spokeswoman Elise Archer said there was a myriad of legislation governing the use of dirt bikes.

"Currently they're applied in an ad hoc manner or not at all," Ms Archer said.

The first step will be to ask the Tasmanian Law Reform Institute to review the existing laws if the Liberals win power.

Tasmanian Motorcycle Council spokesman Allan Roark said a tougher approach was unnecessary if there was plenty of space and opportunity to ride legally.

He supported the Liberals' moves to increase trail bike facilities and events by investing $160,000 to support community groups that want to organise them and another $40,000 to promote opportunities for legal riding.

Mr Roark said trail bikes had become more prevalent due to a rise in popularity and decrease in price.

"I think what's happening is there are a lot of cheaper imported bikes that are available second-hand now for $300 to $400," Mr Roark said. "There's a very small minority who get them and don't want to go out and find the right areas to ride."

Police Minister David O'Byrne agreed it was a challenge for Tasmania Police but warned against a crackdown.

"The last thing we want to do is to have a harder policing response in terms of chasing and pursuits," Mr O'Byrne said.

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