Park and public benefit from responsible trailbike riders
Friday 15 November, 2019
The environmental health and public amenity of the Great Otway National Park is benefitting from fewer illegal trailbike riders.
During a compliance operation over the Melbourne Cup ‘long weekend’, authorised officers from Parks Victoria and the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP), and Victoria Police officers from Anglesea, were pleased to see most trailbike riders doing the right thing.
Around 250 riders were spoken to in the national park and the Otway Forest Park over the four days, with 13 receiving infringement notices for illegal off-road riding. During a similar operation last year more than 50 were caught riding illegally.
Off-road riding in a national park is not only an offence, it damages the environment, endangers wildlife and can put others at risk – particularly in the Anglesea area which is a hotspot for trailbike accidents. With Parks Victoria and partner agencies continuing to monitor the area, it is hoped that the park will recover in areas where illegal tracks have been created.
During the operation, infringement notices for more than $5,600 were issued for illegal trailbike riding, while fines of around $1,500 were issued for campfire and off-road four-wheel driving offences. Victoria Police also issued three riders with infringement notices for unlicensed riding and an unregistered motorcycle.
Trailbike riding is generally permitted within many state forests and parks, however riders must remain on designated vehicle tracks. Some tracks are closed to the public and riders should check local regulations to ensure they are doing the right thing.
Stretching from Torquay and up through the Otways hinterland, the Great Otway National Park protects significant populations of native plants and animals, including species that are extinct elsewhere such as the Long-nosed Potoroo, Southern Brown Bandicoot and Spot-tailed Quoll. The Anglesea Heath section of the park is a fragile heathland environment that is home to approximately one-quarter of Victoria’s plant species.
Quotes attributable to Scott Nicholson, Ranger Team Leader– Parks Victoria:
“Our education and compliance operations in the Great Otway National Park appear to be resulting in more responsible trailbike riding and behaviour.”
“While we will continue operations in and around the national park, including with surveillance cameras and plain-clothed officers, the Cup weekend results are encouraging us that people are considering the environment and other park users.”
Quotes attributable to Roger Pitt, Trail Bike Project Manager, DELWP:
“Trailbike riding and four-wheel driving are increasingly popular ways to enjoy our forests and parks but it’s essential to stay on the formed roads and official vehicle tracks to protect the environment we all value.”
“If inconsiderate riders and drivers take their motorcycles and 4WD vehicles off road onto natural terrain, single-track and watercourses, severe long-term vegetation damage and erosion can occur.”
“Parks Victoria and DELWP officers conduct patrols across Victoria’s parks and forests to protect the environment and improve public safety.”
High-resolution images available to download here: https://spaces.hightail.com/space/z4juWZPAVS
Photo credit: Parks Victoria