The City of Bunbury is reminding all off-road vehicle users that riding unregistered dirt bikes, quad bikes, pocket rockets and trail bikes is prohibited within the City’s boundaries unless on private land with consent.
Any unauthorised vehicle use within reserves can and does cause a huge amount of damage to bushland reserves, dunes and public and private vacant land every year. Signage is erected at all primary entrances to these areas advising of no unauthorised vehicles.
The City’s ranger services regularly receives complaints about off-road vehicles disrupting the environment and wildlife, damaging parks and bushland and causing excessive noise and near miss collisions.
Some of the worst affected areas are Maidens Park Reserve, Tuart Reserve and Manea Park Reserve which are home to a diverse range of flora and fauna including rare orchids, western ringtail possums, black cockatoos and threatened ecological wetland and threatened banksia tree communities.
Vehicles unlawfully entering these reserves have the great potential to spread Phytophthora dieback through the bush. Phytophthora dieback is a microscopic, deadly fungus-like plant pathogen which can kill up to 40 per cent of vegetation within our bush reserves.
It lives in soil and its spores can be transported on sand carried by vehicles and once plants are infected there is no cure.
During the summer months, it is common for vehicles operating in bushland, to start fires. Any person responsible for starting a fire is committing an offence, irrespective of the cause and penalties can include heavy fines and/or significant terms of imprisonment.
Parents of children with dirt bikes and other unregistered motorbikes must be vigilant about their child’s whereabouts, especially during school holidays, as riders face penalties of up to $500 if caught and the possible confiscation of their bike.
If caught riding on the road, Rangers Services will also provide local Police with sufficient evidence to utilize their power to seize offending off-road bikes.
Mayor Gary Brennan said riders of off-road bikes who refuse to abide by the law risk harming the local plant and wildlife, other residents and themselves.
“We encourage anyone witnessing the use of trail bikes or other off-road vehicles within the City of Bunbury to report the incident to Ranger Services on 9792 7106 or call the Police on 131 444,” Mr Brennan said.
People are asked to provide as much detailed and accurate information as possible, such as the description of bikes, colour, make, any identifying features, (vehicle registration, if it has a number plate), time of activity and the address of the bike owner if possible. Any footage taken will be useful in identifying and prosecuting offenders.
The City of Bunbury does not currently have any public areas designated for trail bikes. Within Western Australia the lack of Permitted Off-Road Motorcycle Areas has been pursued at a state government level and a State Trail Bike Committee has been created.
The State Trail Bike Strategy, which was released in 2008, aims to address the issues of trail bike riding in WA and proposes a framework for planning and managing recreational trail bike riding on public and private lands.