Whilst Forestry Commission Wales and the Police recognise that off-roading can be great fun, participants must respect the law and others and not cause damage to wildlife and the environment.
Using off-road vehicles in the forests of Wales not only breaches Forestry Commission By Laws but can lead to a number of offences being committed where the offender can risk having his/her vehicle seized and being reported for summons. There have also been a number of serious accidents involving riders/drivers and members of the public as well as forest workers
So what does the law say?
Section 59 of the Police Reform Act applies to two specific off-road offences.
1. Careless or inconsiderate riding/driving on a public road or place.
2. Riding or driving unlawfully on land not forming part of a road, such as common land, moorland, footpath, bridleway.
Section 34 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 states that it is illegal to ride/drive a vehicle on Forestry Commission land, common land, moorland or any land that is not forming part of a road without authorisation.
A police officer with reasonable grounds to believe that due care & attention is not being taken OR bikes/4x4s are or have been ridden elsewhere than on a road or activity is causing annoyance, alarm or distress to members of the public may stop the rider/driver and following the issue of a warning, seize and remove the vehicle.
If a parent or guardian knowingly lets their child ride or drive any sort of off-road vehicle unlawfully they may well find themselves being reported for offences of permitting their child to use a motor vehicle without the relevant documentation.
Note for parents:
Before you decide to purchase an off-road vehicle for your child find out where they can legally use the vehicle, there are very few legal sites in Wales
at present. Forestry Commission land is not a legal site. The police conduct regular enforcement operations throughout Forestry Commission land in Wales and have issued hundreds of warnings and seized many bikes.
Although enforcement is one option to tackle this growing problem a key part of our approach will be through education and provision, working with Local Authorities, the Police, land owners and the public.
For more information on the law and off-road vehicles contact your local police station.