National Park campaign to help off-roaders
ROUTES being used by off-road vehicles across the Yorkshire Dales will be monitored by the police and rangers from the National Park Authority (YDNPA) during the coming winter months as part of an awareness raising campaign.
The joint action days will take place on public footpaths, bridleways and byways in the National Park and are aimed at raising awareness of new legislation relating to drivers of motorbikes and 4x4s for recreational purposes.
Matt Neale, the Authority's Area Ranger for Upper Wensleydale, is co-ordinating the exercises, which will also involve the police checking bikes and other vehicles to make sure they are legal as well as taking action where clear breaches of the law are committed.
"Off-roading is probably one of the most sensitive issues for national parks in terms of recreation," Matt said.
"Even a small number of bikes in the wrong place can have a serious effect on both sensitive habitats and the peace and tranquillity of the area - just two of the special qualities of the National Park that so many people come here to experience.
"There is now plenty of information available explaining exactly where off-road enthusiasts can go and what is legally required of them, so there is no excuse for people to ride or drive in areas where they have no legal rights to take recreational vehicles."
Last month (October) the YDNPA announced the publication of a new, free trail bike leaflet that has been produced in partnership with the Trail Riders Fellowship, Natural England, the North Yorkshire and Cumbria county councils, the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Beauty and North Yorkshire and Cumbria police.
It explains where and how trail bikers can use the byways and unsurfaced, unclassified county roads and it sets out the legal issues involved and the ways in which riders can help minimise the effects of their sport on the wildlife, the landscape and other users.
The police would also welcome reports of illegal off-roading incidents from members of the public. These should be handed into local police stations in Grassington, Settle, Ingleton, Hawes and Leyburn.