Thursday, August 17, 2006


Action Update - Mini Motor Bikes (again!)

I got through to the Police today, and had a very productive chat with PC Andy Ferguson, who is part of a unit concentrating on Mini Motor Bikes at the moment. He let me know a few facts about the situation:

- If Police discover a bike bieng ridden illegally, or in an unsafe condition, it can be seized, and the rider issued with a £30 fixed penalty.
- If the rider wants to get it back, there is a charge of £120, plus £12 per day storage.
- If, after 21 days, the bike is unclaimed, it is crushed.

PC Ferguson was very helpful. He told me that there is nowhere legal for these bikes to be ridden around here. They are not insured for use on roads or footpaths, and cannot be used on common land (i.e. Prestwich Clough, St Mary's Park etc).

PC Ferguson's advice to residents is that if they see a mini motor bike being ridden, they call the Police's non-emergency respose line on 0161 872 5050. A Police Officer will then visit the scene and hopefully take the appropriate action should the offecne still be taking place.

To report a problem after the event, PC Ferguson's number is 0161 856 4532.

Acting on complaints from local residents, I informed PC Ferguson of a number of bikes that had been spotted as active in the Clifton Road area in recent nights. PC Ferguson promised to investigate, and seize the bikes if necessary. I have not spoken to him since, but note that there have been no bikes outside my house tonight!

PC Ferguson also told me that the article I mentioned last night was wrong, and that the arrest mentioned actually took place here in Prestwich, rather than in Whitefield.

We spoke about potential longer-term solutions to the problem. In terms of stopping supply of the bikes, PC Ferguson told me that Council Trading Standards Officers last year visited a number of premises selling the bikes illegally, and shut them down in conjunction with the Police. In the run up to Christmas, this scheme, supported by the Council, will be restarted. This is something I obviously applaud.

However, since these bikes obviously appeal to younger people, and there is not likely to be success stopping all of them from getting onto the streets, we spoke about more constructive measures. We talked about the possibility of a safe area for the bikes to be ridden legally, possibly under supervision. We also spoke about the possibility of some kind of mechanics course open to users of the bikes, to boost skills and enable them to be ridden legally and maintained safely. I will raise both suggestions with Cllr O'Hanlon and other local Lib Dem Councillors when I see them at the weekend.

In the meantime, if any readers have suggestions, concerns or comments about this issue (or of course, anything else), please do drop me a line.


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