Council gets injunction to stop nuisance motor bike gatherings

Date: 
Friday, 20 May, 2016
Number: 
16-24

A town-wide injunction is in force in Harlow for the next 10 months, which bans individuals from causing a nuisance by taking part in unauthorised ride outs involving motorbikes and motor vehicles.

Yesterday (19 May 2016) Harlow Council, supported by Essex Police, was successfully granted the injunction by the County Court at Chelmsford. The town-wide injunction, which is believed to be the first of its kind, runs until 31 March 2017. 

  • Clarification statement (24 May 2016) in response to concerns and questions raised by the biking community: www.harlow.gov.uk/pr16-26

The injunction is in force in time to stop a planned ride out event set for this Saturday (21 May 2016).

The injunction bans groups of two or more people from taking part in unauthorised ride outs between 10am and 12midnight on any public land or public highway in Harlow.  It covers ride outs involving both motor cycles and motor vehicles. Anyone breaking the injunction would be in contempt of court and may be sent to prison. 

Injunction orders are being posted (please see attached photos) on hotspot areas which are: fields near Radburn Close and Rundells, Harlow Common, Latton Common, Sumners Park, Nicholls Field and Church Langley playing field. A copy of the injunction has been published on the Council’s website and can be viewed by following this link: www.harlow.gov.uk/unauthorised-ride-outs

The injunction forbids the following activities as part of an unauthorised ride out: 

  • Excessive noise.
  • Danger to other road users including pedestrians.
  • Damage or risk of damage to private property.
  • Any nuisance to other persons not participating in the unauthorised ride out.
  • Driving at excess speed.
  • Driving in convoy.
  • Racing another motor vehicle.
  • Performing stunts.
  • Sounding horns.
  • Playing loud music. 
  • Dropping litter. 
  • Shouting or swearing at, or abusing, threatening or otherwise intimidating another person. 

There has been growing complaints in the town from residents about nuisance motorbikes in recent months. Complaints have ranged from motorbikes being driven dangerously on roads, in woodland areas and on playing fields as well as concerns about dangerous stunts being performed, excessive noise from vehicles and the danger posed to the public and riders with many not wearing any protective gear. 

The Council says it also has serious concerns about an unauthorised ride out event being organised through social media for this Saturday. This event is likely to attract hundreds of young people with motor bikes and bystanders. The event poses a serious danger to both the general public and those taking part and will impact on the local community.

A Harlow Council spokesperson, said:

"Nuisance particularly from the illegal riding of motorbikes is blighting people's quality of life in Harlow and the Council will not stand by and do nothing. It is becoming an increasing problem, not just in Harlow but other areas in the country, and now we are approaching the warmer months we want to put deterrents into action. The injunction is one of a number of measures the Council working with the Police has in place to target the issue of nuisance bikes. 

"We know the organisers of Saturday's event have the best intentions at heart and that is to hold a ride out in memory of a friend. Regrettably, they have not approached the Council or the Police about this event and despite attempts we have been unable to engage with them. 

"We do want to work with them. We want to see how events like this can be organised safely for everyone, with our support, so adequate resources can be allocated and any nuisance and impact minimised on the surrounding communities. 

"This injunction and the action being taken is not about stopping anyone from having fun. It is about ensuring everyone is safe from harm, that laws are not broken and that our communities are protected from nuisance and antisocial behaviour."