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A Westminster Hall debate has been scheduled for Tuesday 20 February on off-road biking. The debate will be opened by Peter Gibson, Conservative MP for Darlington.

The issue

Off-road bikes include a range of vehicles such as quad bikes and motorbikes, including scramblers and mini-motos. Previous parliamentary debate has noted that for many years there has been a problem whereby off-road bikes are being driven in a dangerous and anti-social manner and causing a nuisance. There have been incidents of off-road bikes being driven in parks, on pavements and in other public spaces, resulting in injuries to riders and the public and damage to parks, fields, green spaces and private property.


Various legal provisions could apply when motorised bikes are being ridden off-road. These include provisions to deal with traffic offences (for example, dangerous or careless riding), nuisance issues (in particular noise), anti-social behaviour and criminal damage.

In relation to anti-social behaviour, The Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 includes powers the police, councils and other local agencies can use to tackle anti-social behaviour. In March 2023, the Home Office updated its statutory guidance to frontline professionals on these powers. Within the Criminal Justice Bill 2023-24 (currently at report stage in the Commons), the Government has included provisions to extend and strengthen these powers.

The Government’s position

In response to a Written Question about off-road biking (1 February 2024), The Minister for Crime, Policing and Fire noted that a variety of tools are available to the police to deal with anti-social behaviour from off-road biking:

The Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 provides the police, local authorities and other local agencies with a range of tools and powers to respond quickly and effectively to incidents of anti-social behaviour, including those that involve vehicles.

However, he added that decisions on how to enforce laws on off-road biking are a matter for the police:

How the police enforce off-road biking is an operational matter for the local chief officer, in conjunction with the Police and Crime Commissioner, based on local pressures and priorities.

Recent developments

There have been a series of attempts to use Private Members Bills to tackle the issue of anti-social behaviour of off-road bikes. The latest of these was introduced by Anne McLaughlin, MP for Glasgow North East. The Off-Road Vehicles (Registration) Bill aims to:

make provision for a compulsory registration scheme for certain off-road vehicles; to require such vehicles to display a registration plate; and for connected purposes.

This bill was introduced on 6 December 2023, and second reading is scheduled for 19 April 2024.

In a Westminster Hall debate (11 July 2023), Matt Vickers MP noted that Cleveland Police have used drones to identify where off-road bikes are being used, resulting in 180 bikes being seized.

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