Trail bike enthusiasts call for designated track in Mandurah

Off road family: Ryan May with his children Nate and Mia, and his dad Greg. Photo: Claire Sadler.
Off road family: Ryan May with his children Nate and Mia, and his dad Greg. Photo: Claire Sadler.

As illegal trail bike riding continues to draw the ire of the public, enthusiasts are calling for reforms to better the off road vehicle (ORV) community.

Mandurah resident Ryan May says there needs to be a designated legal ORV area in Peel and registrations need to move to online.

"The community has issues with trail bike riders riding in the bushland or on the roads but there is nowhere in Mandurah for people to legally ride - the closest ORV area to Mandurah is at least an hour and a half away.

"The best outcome to deter antisocial behaviour would require a site to be established in conjunction with education.

"A designated area would trend the culture of pride, respect, responsibility, and ownership and straighten out any antisocial behaviour."

A petition for an ORV area in Mandurah, created by Mr May, garnered 1641 signatures from riding enthusiasts in the Peel and further south.

"The Wannanup ORV area has around 140,000 visitors a year so imagine the local tourism if there was one here," Mr May said.

"Businesses and jobs in the region would all benefit."

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Mr May said the other way to minimise illegal riding was to make registering an ORV easier.

Currently, the only way to get ORV registration is paper-based. Every September, you have to go to the licensing centre to get the vehicle registered and pay by cheque.

Since 2014 there has been a 40 per cent reduction in ORV registration while retail sales of trail bikes indicated a 400 per cent increase.

"Registration needs to be put online to increase ORV registration," Mr May said.

"If the bike is registered it also makes it easier for police to catch illegal riders or help recover stolen bikes."

There has been calls for these reforms since 2008 when the Back on Track WA Trail Bike Strategy outlined the need for registration to be better managed and for more designated trails.

"The lack of designated areas has contributed to a proliferation of unofficial, and often illegal, riding areas," the report read.

"These are causing increasing community concern over noise, safety, environmental damage, illegal riding and general nuisance.

"...the RTRA believes that the strategy is world's best practice and if implemented fully and according to the recommendations will go a long way to resolving trail bike issues for riders, community and the environment."

A designated area would trend the culture of pride, respect, responsibility, and ownership and straighten out any antisocial behaviour.

Ryan May

These issues were a topic of conversation in state government late last year with Moore MP Shane Love issuing a parliamentary grievance.

"13 years later issues published in the Back on Track strategy remain unsolved," Mr Love said.

"It's no real surprise that illegal trail bikes reported on the road remain to be a nuisance with no way to identify the vehicle - same with stolen bikes.

"I call on the Minister (for local government) to move registrations online and for more designated off road areas."

In response, Local Government Minister John Carey said he was working with the Department of Transport to consider the opportunities for an electronic registration system and was meeting with the Minister for Lands to progress potential ORV sites.

Mr Carey also made mention of the ORV Committee preparing a planned schedule for ORV areas to see where investment was best placed to improve safety of various ORV sites.