Police today warned they are getting tough on dangerous quad and motorbike riders who are plaguing the district’s roads.
The clampdown was announced in the wake of a judge warning an “idiot” rider yesterday that he was hard-pressed to avoid handing down a jail sentence, not only to punish him but to send out a message to others.
Police chiefs also want the public to help them build cases against those suspected of anti-social riding by sharing as much information as possible – including pictures and films of nuisance bikers. They released these images of riders breaking the law in the Thorpe Edge area of the city in a bid to hunt them down.
Between April 1 and the end of May this year, officers in Bradford have seized six bikes and issued 25 warnings – giving them the power to seize the machine if it is involved in other incidents. Those caught can also have their bikes destroyed and could end up in court – as Matthew McDonald did yesterday.
The 21-year-old drove an off-road trials bike dangerously on roads around Bradford on three separate occasions – performing wheelies, darting in and out of parked vehicles and riding on and off the pavement, prosecutor Nick Adlington told Bradford Crown Court.
On the first occasion he taunted a police officer by riding round his traffic car, then reversing his bike into mud and spraying it in the direction of the officer. The police constable had seen McDonald riding dangerously in Harrogate Road and heading towards the Ravenscliffe estate, at 2.20pm on December 29 last year.
Mr Adlington said that on the afternoon of January 19 police saw McDonald performing wheelies from the road to the pavement, and driving dangerously in Ravenscliffe Avenue. He mounted the kerb and started taunting the officer while riding with no hands.
He then rode into Harrogate Road causing vehicles to brake to avoid a collision.
On January 26, the defendant was one of four males on bikes seen performing wheelies and dodging in and out of parked cars. They were filmed from the police helicopter.
McDonald, of Sandfield Road, Thorpe Edge, Bradford, pleaded guilty to three charges of dangerous driving.
His solicitor advocate, Philip Ainge, said his client had no previous convictions, had a troubling family history and was now horrified by his actions.
But Judge Jonathan Rose told McDonald: “You think this is all great fun. You were showing off.
“You rode in a way that caused danger to yourself, more importantly you rode in a way that caused danger to other road users. These offences were committed at a time of day when other people were about, either on the roads in their vehicles or on the pavements. You did not distinguish between them.”
Judge Rose sentenced McDonald to 12 months imprisonment suspended for two years. He ordered him to do 200 hours unpaid work, be supervised by probation for two years, imposed a 50-day activity requirement, disqualified him from driving for two years, and made him subject of an anti-social behaviour order for three years.
Chief Inspector Damien Miller, Neighbourhoods lead for Bradford District, said: “The summer months traditionally see the use of bikes increase across the district, so we are anticipating more reports of anti-social bike use. We are doing all we can to trace offenders and have made arrests, but we need the public to give us as much information as they can.
"Riding a bike in an anti-social manner is not only dangerous and could lead to an accident, it is also a criminal offence. Those found to have been using their bikes in this way can expect to have them seized and possibly destroyed. In some cases, they could end up in court.
“Younger riders should also note that a ban for road traffic offences can lead to much bigger premiums when insuring their first car or motorbike.”
Anyone with information about anti-social bike use can contact police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.