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Off-Road Registration Is No Solution To Mini Bike Problem - October 25th 2006

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    The Motor Cycle Industry Association (MCI) has spoken out against proposals to introduce compulsory registration for all off-road motorcycles.

    The proposal is for Universal, Retrospective, Compulsory registration, so that all motorcycles would carry a number plate whether used on road or not. The proposal, which has been made in a 'Ten Minute Rule Bill' in Parliament, has been inspired by current public concerns surrounding the already illegal and anti social use of mini and toy bikes on public roads.

    The MCIA has identified a number of problems with this proposal, which it believes would not realistically solve the problem of mini- bikes, and could create a whole range of administrative difficulties as well as be costly to law-abiding citizens. The proposal could also impact negatively on off road motorcycle sport.

    Presently, vehicles intended for use off road on private property or for motorcycle sport are not required to be registered. Vehicles that aren't already on a database would have to be identified and their details gathered which could amount to perhaps more than 250,000 off road motorcycles of all types.

    Mini motorcycle nuisance is largely associated with illegal riding and anti-social behaviour as well as a number of motoring offences, that the police have more than enough powers to deal with. MCI argues the illegal riding of off road motorcycles is not a new issue and in the past was generally associated with stolen machines. Riders who already flout the law would be likely to simply remove the number plates, and eliminate the engine and frame numbers just as they did with stolen bikes. The proposed registration scheme is therefore likely to be an expensive exercise in futility. Far better will be to find ways of providing for the activity legally, just as was achieved when skate boarders and BMXers proved a social issue Unfortunately NIMBYs on local councils are all too busy frustrating their officers good efforts to achieve this.

    Craig Carey-Clinch MCI's Director of Public Affairs said, " The proposal is well meaning, but will singularly fail to achieve its purpose, while at the same time creating a huge burden of regulation and bureaucracy on legitimate and legal off road motorcycle sport. We can only imagine what our British Superbike champions would have to say about the prospect of having to fit road-style number plates to their race bikes.

    "The proposed scheme would be expensive, legally complex and largely ineffective. Implementation would cost money, which would be recouped largely from people who are not part of the problem, rather than those that are already committing multiple offences.

    "Successful action against mini-bike problems has mostly been through local intelligence and focussed police operations to identify, seize and crush vehicles being abused. Also, by providing diversionary activities and legitimate venues to prevent young people becoming involved in auto-crime.

    Surely the huge costs implied by the implementation of such a scheme would be better spent on providing police and local authorities the resources they need to tackle the mini bike problem in a constructive and sustainable way, rather than thrown away on what will be little more than on an ineffective gimmick."