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Motorbike Project puts youths on the right track

A local initiative to put the brakes on motorbike annoyance in Llanedeyrn and Pentwyn is a runaway success.

The Motorbike Project has helped to change attitudes and build lasting relationships with nine youths from the area who were identified as being at most risk of being linked to antisocial behaviour.

Launched in February, through a partnership between South Wales Police, Foreshore MXC, East Cardiff Llanedeyrn & Pentwyn Communities First (ECLP), the Foreshore MXC track in Rover Way provided the perfect setting for weekly workshop focussing on safe and responsible riding which were run over seven weeks.

The youths, aged between 10 and 16, were picked up from their homes and bussed to each session. They were allowed to ride the motocross track for free, but were required to attend workshops which focussed on key topics such as the dangers of riding while under the influence of drugs or alcohol; the correct use of safety equipment; the laws of off-road biking; and the impact of motorbike annoyance on others. These were delivered by experts from organisations including East Cardiff Llanedeyrn & Pentwyn Communities First (ECLP), South Wales Fire and Rescue, and South Wales Police. A reformed, ex-offender also spoke to them about how wrong decisions affected him and those around him.

Inspector Geraint White, said: “As we dealt with motorcycle annoyance in the area, we spoke to the youths responsible and there was a clear lack of awareness about where and how they could ride responsibly. This unique initiative was designed by the neighbourhood team to encourage them to make positive choices, teach them how to safely use a motorcycle, and to understand the consequences of motorbike annoyance.”

The youths were given certificates for completing the programme – two of the youths continue to volunteer at the track in exchange for free sessions. A measure of the programme’s success is the fact that the individuals have not been linked to any incidents of anti-social behaviour since being involved in the programme.

Inspector White, added: “The feedback that we had from the youths has been overwhelming in praise. Each and every one thoroughly enjoyed the course – some even showcased their newly learned skills to their families who were invited to the track to mark the end of the project.”

The project was co-ordinated by South Wales Police’s sector support officer Carly Hart, T/PS Adele Sweet and PCSO Ally Fitzgerald and was funded by a grant from the South Wales Police Youth Trust via the ECLP.

Mark Thomas, who runs Foreshore MXC, said: “It’s important that we do not alienate all those who enjoy the sport of motocross. In the right environment and with appropriate supervision, people of all ages can and should take part – it deserves a rightful place in the city.

“This partnership with the police helps us identify those who are at risk of bringing the activity into disrepute through irresponsible and inconsiderate riding. It puts them on the right path, which has benefits all-round, and ensures the sport can thrive healthily here in Cardiff.”

The diversionary project is run alongside enforcement operations to tackle off-road biking which are held in key locations across Cardiff. Police use drones to assist them in identifying offenders who illegally use bikes in public places. Under Section 59 of the Road Traffic Act, officers have the power to seize bikes on the spot.

As the days get longer and the weather gets warmer, illegal off road biking becomes more prevalent. Anybody who experiences motorcycle annoyance is urged to contact 101. If they have information about the illegal use of motorbikes they can also email including useful details such as photographs or good descriptions of those responsible.