An intelligence-gathering exercise is underway in Shellharbour, aimed at stamping out the illegal use of unregistered trail bikes in the wake of a teenager’s death.
Council and area police are calling on the community to report sightings in the lead-up to the school holidays, when trail bike activity is expected to increase on area roads and pathways.
The campaign follows the death, on May 23, of 19-year-old Shane Puckeridge at Blackbutt. Police say Mr Purckeridge was riding an unregistered trail bike when he slammed into a ute parked on Glider Avenue, on the outskirts of Blackbutt Forest Reserve.
On Tuesday Shellharbour Mayor Marianne Saliba and Lake Illawarra Local Area Command Sergeant Lee Paterson met on the reserve’s fringes to highlight the dangers posed by the bikes.
“Parents need to know that if they buy their children a bike – that is a mini trail bike and unregistered bike – they are illegal unless they’re taken to a particular area where they’re allowed to ride on private property, but certainly not on our footpaths, our bike paths or our roads,” she said.
“People have been complaining for some time and we’re trying to find a way to put a stop to that kind of behaviour.
“We … encourage people who do see these people on trail bikes to report them, that way we can gather the information.
“We may even find out where they’re coming from, where [the riders] are living, where they’re riding – some kind of habits – and then be able to do something about it with the police and our officers from council.”
Unregistered trail bikes include mini-bkes, petrol-powered bikes, segways and motorised skateboards.
Fines of $650 apply for using an unregistered or uninsured vehicle. Penalties also apply for riding unlicensed ($541) and riding with out a helmet ($325).
Council has created an online form to encourage reporting.
Sgt Paterson said use of unregistered bikes had been difficult to police in the past.
“It’s difficult for police to catch them in the act,” he said.
“We rely on the public to let us know where these offences are happening who the offenders are and give us descriptions and times so we can form plans, along with the council, to try and stamp out these offences and bring some peace back to the community.
“It’s extremely dangerous, especially in bushland.
“It’s a big concern for pedestrians and families.
“A lot of the parks in the area are used by families ... and we don’t want anybody to get hurt – even the trail bike riders themselves. We don’t want them to get hurt at all.”