Dáil Éireann - Volume 598 - 22 February, 2005

Written Answers. - Road Safety.

  242. Ms Shortall asked the Minister for Transport the legal position in respect of the widespread use of quad-bikes by young people; if these bikes come within road traffic legislation; if it is legal for minors or adults to ride these bikes on public roads or public open spaces; the person who is liable in respect of injury to persons or to property caused by one of these bikes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5920/05]

  252. Mr. Carey asked the Minister for Transport the legislation or regulations which govern the use of micro-motorcycles either on the public roadway or in public places such as parks; the [438] penalties for breaches of any such laws or regulations, given that these vehicles are now in widespread use; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5761/05]

  Mr. Callely:I propose to take Questions Nos. 242 and 252 together.

The Road Traffic Act 1961 defines a mechanically propelled vehicle as a vehicle intended or adapted for propulsion by mechanical means. Quadricycles and motorcycles, including micro-motorcycles, come within this definition.

In order to use a mechanically propelled vehicle in a public place, a range of requirements must be satisfied in relation to both the vehicle and the driver. Specifically, a mechanically propelled vehicle when in use in a public place must comply with the requirements of the Road Traffic (Construction, Equipment and Use of Vehicles) Regulations 1963 to 2002 and the Road Traffic (Lighting of Vehicles) Regulations 1963 to 1996 and the driver must have third party insurance cover in accordance with section 56 of the Road Traffic Act 1961. In addition, under section 38 of the Road Traffic Act 1961, a driving licence is required to drive a mechanically propelled vehicle in a public place. The minimum age for holding a driving licence is 16 years for a moped and small motorcycles and 17 years for a quadricycle.

Enforcement of the road traffic law is a matter for the Garda Síochána. The penalties for breaches of the road traffic law in respect of these requirements are a fine not exceeding €800 in the case of a first offence, a fine not exceeding €1,500 in the case of a second or subsequent offence, and a fine of €1,500 or a term of imprisonment not exceeding three months or both in the case of a third or subsequent offence in a period of 12 consecutive months. A person convicted of a breach of section 56 of the Road Traffic Act 1961 incurs five penalty points.

In addition to the requirements of road traffic law, a mechanically propelled vehicle for use in a public place is required to be registered and liable to motor tax, which are matters for the Revenue Commissioners and the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, respectively.