Bike menace debated

Claire Baker (right) with local supporters including Dave Paton, Caroline Mitchell and Shelagh Cooper.
Claire Baker (right) with local supporters including Dave Paton, Caroline Mitchell and Shelagh Cooper.

Ministers at the Scottish Parliament have given their backing to a call from Claire Baker for better resources to tackle illegal off-road biking.

The local MSP raised the motion for debate following First Minister’s questions in Parliament on Thursday.

She highlighted the problems faced by many of her constituents who have been blighted by illegal off-road bikers, making reference in particular to Shelagh Cooper, whose dog Millie was knocked down and killed by a man on a bike in March.

Ms Baker highlighted the need to give police more tools to apprehend offenders, and raised the possibility of making representation to the DVLA to make registration of these types of vehicles mandatory. Currently, off-road bike and quadbike owners are not required to register their vehicles but can do on a voluntary basis.

Her call to Paul Wheelhouse, minister for community safety and legal affairs, was backed by David Torrance MSP and Murdo Fraser MSP, as well as MSP for Glasgow Provan, Paul Martin, who highlighted years of issues in his own constituency and backed strongly Ms Baker’s call that representations are made to the DVLA.

In reply to Ms Baker’s report, Mr Wheelhouse told the chamber: “We have corresponded with the DVLA on the issue and it has advised me that the details of vehicles that are registered under the scheme are held in the DVLA’s database and the police national computer.

I am clear that more still needs to be done

“I stress it is entirely free for people to register a vehicle and I am committed to promoting the scheme widely throughout Scotland as a first step.”

Speaking after the debate, Ms Baker told the Mail she welcomed a new police data management system, aimed at making it easier to apprehend offenders.

“However, I am clear that more still needs to be done,” she said.

“We need to ensure our local police have all the relevant tools in their box to deal with this problem and we must look seriously at what more can be done, including looking seriously at compulsory registration.

“I will be continuing to meet with residents and campaigning on their behalf.”