Cost of road tax on a quad bike is ‘scandalous’ – Fitzmaurice

The cost of road tax on a quad bike is “scandalous” especially for the farming community, according to independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice.

Speaking in the Dáil recently during a debate on the Sinn Féin motion on scramblers and quad bikes, the Roscommon-Galway TD said that “everything is fine until something goes wrong” when using the vehicles.

“There is a wild streak in every youngster. Young people need opportunity as well. The one thing we have not done in this country is provide a safe environment where youngsters who want to use these vehicles can do so responsibly,” the deputy said.

“Unfortunately, what is a great bit of craic sometimes ends up in someone losing a limb or a life, which is regrettable. We have to start regulating them. It is as simple as that.”

The deputy notes that there is “one thing we could do in regard to quad bikes”.

“I recall that years ago when we had a problem with very old tractors turning over and, unfortunately, people were being killed, a safety bar was put around them. Similar to the safety bar that was developed for the tractors which years ago had no cabs,” the deputy continued.

We should look to that in regard to quad bikes. Unfortunately, the statistics show that a lot of people get caught when a quad bike tumbles over.

“I am not suggesting a safety bar is the be-all and end-all and that it would resolve everything but it could help.

“We need to make sure quad bikes have indicators for road use. To be honest, I think the cost of road tax on a quad bike is scandalous, especially for the farming community.”

‘We can never beat this behaviour out of young people’

Speaking on the same matter, Tipperary TD Mattie McGrath said that with young people, there should not be an “us and them mentality” created “by chasing them with a squad car whenever there is an issue”.

“I know how dangerous these vehicles are and how serious it is to be hit by one,” the deputy said.

“I have a quad for use on a hilly sheep farm. I know how dangerous they are.

They have to be used properly. We can never beat this behaviour out of young people. We have to encourage them and give them tracks to use.

Kerry TD Michael Healy-Rae added that where he comes from, “a lot of people have quads” and they are used as work vehicles, “similar to tractors”.

“They are a terribly important part of their working life. We can be sure that they are not for pleasure or leisure,” the deputy said.

“Just like a tractor, a quad is used for getting to places, carrying goods, maintaining wiring and doing all the work that needs to be done around a farm. Of course, there is a place for other types of scramblers or motorbikes.

“As has already been soundly stated, that activity is fine if it happens in the places where it is supposed to.”