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Antisocial Mini-bike Riding

Volume 450: debated on Monday 23 October 2006

I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave some moments ago.

No one wishes to prevent the safe use of mini-motorcycles—my three sons were taught by their father, who was an RAC Auto-Cycle Union instructor—but we must be concerned about young people who cause a danger not only to themselves but to many other people on our streets and in our parks and open spaces. Is there anything further that we can do to help Sussex police, who are taking an active role in dealing with the problem, to tackle that antisocial behaviour?

As my hon. Friend says, the legitimate use of such vehicles in controlled circumstances is broadly supported by the Government. Well-managed legal sites can divert people away from the illegal use of go-peds and mini-motos. She is also right to say that we need more information and guidance. The Respect taskforce, which is addressing this and other issues of antisocial behaviour, is committed to supporting any area experiencing problems with mini-motos. The taskforce has produced guidance for practitioners on tackling misuse, a public information leaflet has been produced for retailers, and workshops were run for practitioners at the September academy events this year. The taskforce also runs a website and hotline for anyone who is interested in the issue. I commend all those to my hon. Friend as means by which information on this disturbing antisocial trend can be made available to her constituents, and to the authorities.

What recent discussions has the Secretary of State had with his colleague in the Department of Trade and Industry about introducing stricter controls on the sale of mini-motorbikes, and with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency about their compulsory registration?

I believe that the existing controls are sufficient. As I pointed out earlier, the present powers stem from at least two Acts—the Police Reform Act 2002 and the Road Traffic Act 1988—and include powers of seizure, powers to destroy, warning letters, acceptable behaviour contracts, parenting contracts, dispersal powers, noise abatement powers and antisocial behaviour orders. As well as that range of powers, we also encourage legitimate use. At this stage, we are not of the opinion that mini-motorcycles should be banned completely, but where they are being misused we have made available a range of powers. Those are being used throughout the country, albeit patchily, and we are attempting to spread their use more widely.