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Public Majority Agree Young People Should Have Dedicated Areas For Off-Road Use - July 29th 2005

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    Research carried out by the Motor Cycle Industry Association (MCI) revealed that the majority of the public, both riders and non-riders, agree that young people should have special places where they can participate in off-road motor sport activities.

    Young people enjoy many benefits from participating in these activities. It provides an excellent hobby, can help to keep children fit and actively involved in sport, develop co-ordination and balance, encourage concentration and instils transport awareness that will help them as they get older.

    Annually, 7,000 new bikes are sold which are designed for children and young-people to use away from the road in appropriate supervised places. These are high quality machines sold with proper advice and back-up from reputable suppliers.

    However, the MCI is aware that there has been a significant increase in the import of poor-quality copies of these very small 2-wheelers - from around 10,000 in 2002 to 70,000 in 2003. Such machines are often sold at very low prices via mail-order or internet outlets with no local presence or specialist training, or by local outlets that are not motorcycle specialists with inadequate advice about safe and responsible use or maintenance. Many of these machines are of lower quality, produced by unregulated factories in less-developed countries and generally do not meet European standards for safety, reliability, noise or pollution.

    Organisations such as the Motor Cycle Industry Association (MCI), and its equivalent retail and sport organisations, do not have any control over irresponsible importers and traders, or the abuse of public roads and spaces that sometimes follows. However, the industry is committed to ensuring that the many people who are participating in constructive, legitimate and legal motorcycle activity are not penalised because of a minority.

    There is a nationwide network of clubs and local organisations that operate to provide fully-supervised recreational and competitive use of motorcycles and other vehicles by children and young people, which can be contacted via the ACU, AMCA and BSMA. These are legitimate and responsible groups of parents and others who recognise the educational and developmental benefits to children and young people understanding the responsible use of motorised sport and recreation vehicles and who have an interest in the future of UK motorsports.

    Craig Carey-Clinch MCI's Director of Public Affairs said "The vast majority of young people act legally and responsibly. However, the MCI recognises there is a problem with some illegal use of these bikes. It would be a huge mistake to tar these youngster, parents and other adults in a position of responsibility, with the same brush, as those who through negligence or encouragement, allow their youngsters to abuse the street and other public places with illegal use of vehicles or through vandalism.

    "Providing more, safe specialist areas for young people to participate in these activities is one important step that can help to reduce the problem that is creating a negative image for the industry."