Parents are being urged not to give quad bikes and scramblers to children as Christmas presents this year, due to the dangers they pose.
Latest figures from the Road Safety Authority (RSA) show that between 2014 and 2018, five people were killed in accidents involving at least one quad bike or scrambler. Of these, three were under the age 18.
Meanwhile, between 2014 and 2017, 45 people were injured in such accidents, 21 of whom were under the age of 18.
The RSA has launched a campaign in conjunction with the Gardaí to highlight the dangers these vehicles pose to children.
"It saddens me that we have to again remind parents and guardians of the risks that quad bikes and scramblers pose to children. These are vehicles intended to be driven by people who know the risk they pose and who understand the threat when driving on uneven ground.
"Please think very carefully before gifting a quad bike or scrambler because in the hands of inexperienced and unsupervised children, there can be a risk of death or life-changing injuries," commented RSA chief executive, Moyagh Murdock.
She said she would also include e-scooters in this category "as they can travel at considerable speed and in the hands of children, could be high risk".
Also commenting on the dangers of these vehicles, consultant orthopaedic surgeon and national clinical lead for trauma services, Mr Keith Synnott, explained that impacts often occur on areas of uneven ground or as a result of unstable vehicles, particularly in the hands of children. This can lead to people falling and landing awkwardly, or the vehicle landing on the rider.
"Quad bikes and scramblers are not toys, they are heavy, dangerous pieces of machinery that can cause life-changing injuries or death.
"Riders risk spinal injury following a collision and this could result in paralysis, which can mean being unable to walk or perhaps use your hands to feed yourself, loss of bowel or bladder control, and sometimes even the inability to breathe without the aid of a machine," Mr Synnott said.
According to assistant Garda commissioner, David Sheahan, the Gardai will take action if they come across the use of these vehicles in public.
"If any of these types of vehicles are found being driven in public, they must be properly insured, licenced and taxed. Users need to be aware of the penalties under road traffic laws, including fixed charge notices, penalty points, court fines and possible detention of the vehicle by members An Garda Síochána for not being in compliance with these requirements," he said.
Discussions on this topic are now closed.