Council set to crack down on illegal trail bikes, 4WDs

GLADSTONE Regional Council is cracking down on trail bikes and four-wheel-drive vehicles riding and driving illegally on council-controlled land across the region.

Council said it was illegal to ride trail bikes and four-wheel-drives on all council-controlled land including parks, bushland, sports fields, easements and other public open spaces.

Substantial environmental nuisance and damage was being created by trail bikes and four-wheel-drives destroying vegetation, threatening native habitats, spreading weeds and creating public nuisance complaints through excessive noise and dust emissions.

Council's environment portfolio spokesman Col Chapman said people did not have the right to ride or drive anywhere they liked.

Cr Chapman said while he appreciated the fact trail bike riding and four-wheel-driving were popular leisure activities, there were strict rules governing where they could be ridden and driven.

He said riding motorbikes or four-wheel-driving on council property not designated for that purpose required approval. 

"The trail bikers and four-wheel-drivers are causing environmental damage by wearing tracks up and down slopes that erode at each rainfall event," he said.

"This makes it more and more dangerous for staff members who need to access these areas for legitimate work purposes.

"This also includes Ergon staff accessing power easements on our land for power line maintenance duties."

Curtis Coast Trailriders Club secretary Allison Perry said while the issue of illegal trail-riding didn't affect their club directly, due to their affiliation with Motorcycling Queensland, they strongly discouraged illegal riding activity.

"We discourage unlicensed riders with unregistered bikes in those national parks," she said.

"We're not associated with it and we do discourage it."

She said with four organised rides and two race meets already pencilled in, the club offered members plenty of opportunity to get out and ride without having to intrude on council-owned property in the process.

"We try and encourage people to get along to organised events. We're always welcoming new members and we're always looking for new property owners (to host rides)," she said.

Council will step up patrols across the region in an attempt to catch offenders.

Offenders found illegally on council-controlled land can be issued with a $550 infringement notice.

Cr Chapman said residents could assist by reporting incidents to 4970 7000 or their local police station, and if possible, recording any registration details of offending vehicles. 

The council will soon begin a community awareness program to educate trail bike and four-wheel-drive vehicle owners on where they can and cannot ride and drive.

"The problem we have is there are a lot of bushland areas, hills and valleys across the Gladstone region which are seen by trail bike and four-wheel-drive enthusiasts as ideal locations," Cr Chapman said.

"They are not legal locations for these leisure activities and the community needs to realise this."

Council is in the process of negotiating with Central Queensland Motorsports Benaraby to lease available land at Benaraby for use by the general trail biking public. 

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