Talks continue over off-road bike park to help curb rogue riders in Sunderland and South Tyneside

Talks are ongoing over finding an area of land to develop a dedicated facility for off-road motorcycles to help reduce antisocial behaviour in communities in Sunderland and South Tyneside.

By Nic Marko
Saturday, 22nd January 2022, 9:58 am

Motorcycle disorder is a regular topic at council meetings across Tyne and Wear, with concerns over speeding, noise and public safety, and the model proposed follows in the footsteps of police in Scotland.

An update was provided at the latest Sunderland scrutiny co-ordinating committee on Wednesday, January 19, on steps to find a site suitable to accommodate the riders in Wearside, South Tyneside and Gateshead.

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A picture posed by Northumbria Police of an officer tackling a problem rider.

Stephen Laverton, council strategic manager for community safety and safeguarding, said he had “hoped to come with really good news” after a potential site had been identified, but this had fallen though.

He said: “There’s been some environmental work completed by South Tyneside and the council which has ruled that out for ecological reasons, and some protected species, so we’re back to the drawing board.

“We are looking across Sunderland, Gateshead and South Tyneside to have a piece of land where people can actually drive used motorcycles and quad bikes.

“We realise, unless we’re actually providing something for them, we’re going to see a continuation of this problem.”

He added they are hoping to push on with the scheme this year, acknowledging motorcycle disorder is a concern residents often raise.

Following the update as part of the annual Safer Sunderland report, Cllr Melanie Thornton asked for more details on how the scheme would help tackle the off-road bikers issue.

The Copt Hill representative said: “Motorcycle disorder order, obviously it’s high up on residents priorities, and it certainly is in my ward.

“My only concern with finding an area within those three local authorities is, that’s great for people who use them legally, but the ones that we’re concerned about are the illegal users.”

Mr Laverton noted a working group has already been set up by police looking to tackle the issue, and they have been having discussions with police in Scotland, who have already adopted a similar scheme, on how best to implement it.

He added: “What we’re talking about is a piece of land and some transport to get people there, and to advertise it.”

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