By JADE BILOWOL
MINI motorcycles have become a major menace at parks, roads, bicycle tracks and footpaths throughout the Gold Coast, with a dramatic increase in complaints forcing a police crackdown.
A Burleigh Heads resident said the mini motorcycles, also known as pocket rockets, posed a huge danger after she witnessed a teenager strike down a four-year-old along the Esplanade at Burleigh Heads at the weekend.
"They speed along at up to 25kmh on the footpath and bikeway at Burleigh, which has merged into one, and everyone was saying that it would only be a matter of time before someone was hurt," the woman said.
"Well, on Sunday it happened - there were two teens on scooters going at quite a pace and the young kid was bumped and knocked over and was hurt as a result with a grazed knee.
"Neither of the teens stopped despite the picnicking party's distress - the little boy's mother was distraught."
Gold Coast Acting Regional Traffic Co-ordinator Senior Sergeant Ian Thompson said the use of the pocket rockets in public areas including council reserves was totally illegal and dangerous, with offenders facing a raft of fines.
"We need to get the message across to riders that they are liable to significant penalties if they are found riding on the roads or in other public places," Snr Sgt Thompson said.
"These include fines of up to $300 for using an unregistered and uninsured vehicle, $150 for carrying a pillion passenger as well as fines for unlicensed driving and not wearing helmets."
He said the only places for the mini motorcycles were on private property and authorised race tracks.
Snr Sgt Thompson also said the vehicles could not be registered because they did not conform to all of the Australian Design Standards, which meant people could be liable for significant legal costs in the event of an accident because the machines had no third party insurance.
Gold Coast City councillor Greg Betts said there was no place for the menace at Burleigh's family-orientated parks, and offenders could also face a $150 fine from the council.
"It is not something we encourage in our parks, it is totally illegal," Cr Betts said.
Snr Sgt Thompson said the number of complaints triggered by the illegal and dangerous use of the bikes had soared since last Christmas Day.
"There have been an increasing number of complaints because people have bought them over Christmas," he said.
"Parents are also reminded that it is appropriate they take an active role in ensuring their children do not ride these bikes in public areas."