A campaign launched in Parliament by Barbara received a major boost last Friday (2 March) when a Private Members’ Bill calling for the compulsory registration of off-road motorcycles received its second reading in the House of Commons.
In 2006, Barbara acted as the Parliamentary Champion of the Greater Manchester Police Authority’s ‘Stop Off-Road Nuisance’ campaign to introduce into parliament the authority’s proposals to deal with the menace of illegally ridden off-road vehicles.
In October last year, Barbara sponsored an Early Day Motion, supported by 66 other MPs, which emphasised the nuisance that illegal motorcycle use causes to local people, and called on the Government to introduce a compulsory registration scheme, which would cover new motorcyles and quad bikes, and those already in use.
Barbara followed this up in November by introducing a Ten Minute Rule Bill, which called for mandatory registratoon of off-road vehicles, which would enhance to powers of the police to tackle the off-road bike problem. Barbara’s Bill raised awareness of the problem and gathered support for action among MPs from Manchester. Similar bills were also introduced by MPs from Swindon and the Rhondda.
GMPA remained convinced that a registration scheme is the only way to deal with this problem and Barbara continued to find that residents in Worskley and across Salford had their lives blighted by noise, damage, and the risk of injury from dangerously-ridden and uninsured off-road motorcycles, mini-motos, scooters and quad-bikes.
The campaign took another step forward when one of the MPs who signed Barbara’s EDM, Graham Stringer, MP for nearby Manchester Blackley, was successful in winning a high place in a Commons ballot for Private Members’ Bills. He chose to put forward the Off-Road Vehicles (Registration) Bill, which received the support of 115 MPs at its second reading on Friday.
Speaking after the debate, Barbara said:
“Time and time again, constituents tell me about the problems caused by unlicensed motorcycles, which are ridden not only on parks and open spaces, but also on the public highway, where they pose a danger to pedestrians and other road users. Greater Manchester Police are doing an excellent job at cracking down on the problem, but they tell me that the only way to deal with it in the longer term is to establish a clear record of ownership for each bike, to ensure that those responsible can be traced.
"When I began this campaign with the Greater Manchester Police Authority, I knew that it would take time to see results, and we still have quite a way to go, but I am delighted at the number of MPs who have shown their support for the Bill. I have listened to the problems that my constituents are having, and by raising them in Parliament, I have made sure that Ministers are very much aware of the scale of the problem, both in Worsley, and across Greater Manchester.”